German death metal band Corrosive may not be a name you’ve come across before, but their origins stretch back to 1995 and they put out two demos and the Wrath of the Ungod full-length during their initial thirteen-year run. Productivity seems to have picked up significantly since their founding vocalist and bassist reformed Corrosive in 2012 though, as new material has come out almost every year since 2016. 2020’s Ed featured four new tracks alongside a re-recording of the 1998 War and Carcass demo, and two years later the band has returned with another album of new material titled Death as a Process. This effort brings some significant shifts to the old-school sound heard on their previous efforts, retaining the heavy grooves and blasts while letting even more melody seep in. It’s still a familiar sound for anyone that’s big on death metal, but the combination of brutal grooves and powerful melodies work well and naturally expand upon what Corrosive has done before.
Death as a Process does admittedly fake you out a bit with its title track, as that opening horror movie sample gives off the impression that you’re in for chugging brutal death metal or straightforward old-school death metal. There is some of that to be sound here, as the core of Corrosive’s sound takes the brutality, blasting, and grooves of American death metal bands like Deicide and Obituary and throws in a heavy amount of the non-HM2 Swedish variants from the early to mid-90s. Tracks like “When Body and Mind are Separated” are a maelstrom of bludgeoning drum work and guitar work that throws plenty of dense grooves at listeners, but other tracks up the melody significantly and let that expand over the powerful foundation. Corrosive showcased some ideas like this before, especially on Nourished by Blood, but they’ve been expanded upon significantly here and steal the spotlight quite frequently. It often feels like the instrumentals are sitting in that space between old-school death metal and melodic death metal, where they aren’t going full Gothenburg but do give off hints of everything from Hypocrisy to Unleashed. I was pleasantly surprised by “Necroloveicon”, which slows things down considerably and adds some effects that almost sound like keyboards into the mix. While this is all probably sounding pretty good so far and the band does do these styles justice with tight performances, admittedly there’s still something missing. There are some powerful, memorable moments throughout Death as a Process, but also some ones that come and go without truly standing out, and quite a bit of the album reminds me a bit too much of specific Swedish or American bands rather than setting Corrosive apart. I think with the combination of melodic death metal and old-school the pieces are there, but a few more curveballs like “Necroloveicon” would go a long way in giving the group an individual identity.
Lead vocalist Andy has the type of guttural growls that one would expect from a death metal band of this type, but with bassist Sascha providing backing vocals Corrosive is able to offer up a diverse performance throughout Death as a Process. “Human Puzzle” is a great example of this, as the song begins with dense, guttural growls but high shrieks enter the mix around the halfway point that give off more of a Cattle Decapitation vibe. The interplay between the high and low ranges is used to the band’s advantage, as there’s plenty of back and forth and it’s not done in the same way on each track. Both Andy and Sascha vary up their approaches over the album, and no matter where they go the intensity remains at a high. Despite the instrumentals injecting a lot of melody, the lyrics remain as gore-soaked which song titles like “When She Smells Like Warm Butter” represent very well.
While a lot of Death as a Process reminds me of other classic American and Swedish death metal acts, this line between traditional and melodic death metal is a style I like quite a bit and because of that I’ve managed to get quite a bit of mileage out of Corrosive’s latest album. It’s polished and well played, and there are some strong hooks throughout that make them worth giving a listen. Within the context of the band’s discography it finds them branching out further, and with some additional variation and curveballs in the future I think they’ll be able to stand out even more. Death as a Process is available from Black Sunset and Kernkraftritter Records.
-Review by Chris Dahlberg
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