Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts. Words are something I can’t make out on the new Ctenizidae EP “…Of Rotting Soil & Spine”. Imagine taking an upper, sowing your mouth shut, lying face down in an abandoned asylum bed, recording vocals on a flip phone and you’d be close to the vocals on this EP. And holy fuck does it work. With just 6 “songs” clocking in at 19 minutes, Ctenizidae have delivered a harsh, dissonant gem that gets better with each listen. There’s a noticeable laissez faire minimalism across this EP with unnerving guitars pushing and pulling throughout, like they’re morphing in and out of time, disorienting the listener. Snare hits are like machine gun fire, particularly the last 90 seconds of “Thickening of the Abyss”.
The EP opens with “Collapsing Inward, A Repugnant Existence”, an instrumental with an emphasis on the ‘mental’. From there, the EP takes shape and we’re introduced to the “vocals” on “That Which Feeds Upon the Weakened Host”. The riffing on “Shrine of Necrophagia” is as black metal as it gets for Ctenizidae; noise is the order of the day and it is handled deftly, track after track. A filthy, oozing sludge riff lumbers its way through most the 3:33 of “Iquefaction Seeps From Hidden Reaches of Decrepit Void”, and then, most curiously, we reach track 5, “Evil Crawls from the Sinew of Decapitated Limbs”. There’s an almost comical, demented circus motif at the 1:20 mark of the tune. Do Ctenizidae have a sense of humour? Are they having fun? Are they poking fun?
2019’s “Endless Decay In Putrescent Void” is probably more menacing musically and the production more harrowing overall, but on the whole, Ctenizidae have a better album with “…Of Rotting Soil & Spine”. Just don’t think you’ll be singing the songs around any campfire any time. Ever. (TorBor)