ALBUM REVIEW: Red Rot – Borders Of Mania


Combining extreme music sensibilities and Doom-inspired vocal machinations, Red Rot have put forth their latest full-length, Borders Of Mania (Hammerheart Records), a fifteen-track compendium that oftentimes struggles to find an identity and isn’t helped by erratic song lengths that squelch any momentum that may have been built – the forty-four-minute effort could have been better served as two separate polished releases. There are serviceable characteristics here and there, but certainly not enough to justify the ambition. 

“Compulsive Delusion” houses burly, rustic-sounding guitars halfway through, and “Homo Sapiens Imago Dei” cobbles up an intensely appetizing pace and energy in the introduction, and when the harsh screams are good, they’re wonderfully satisfying (“Cranioscopy”, “Agony Untold”). That said, the more somber vocal deliveries at times clash rather than supplement. Subtle industrial inspiration props up every now and then, and the frantic drumming – especially on aforementioned “Agony Untold” – is frankly exhilarating. 

It’s never a good sign when you’re sampling a new record and find yourself constantly waiting for the next shoe to drop, or for the proverbial switch to flick on. It’s not that Borders Of Mania is necessarily too soft or tame. Rather, it’s the inability to find any flashy riff or emphatic bridge that motivates the listener to want to wait and find more. 

The majority of tracks here either fail to materialize into something identifiable, or are stunted by uncertainty. Maybe it’s a nod to the album’s title, an attempt to demonstrate mania through haphazard, unpredictable bouts. 

And circling back to the song lengths, most clock in at about two-and-a-half minutes, and “Overlord” is the only which surpasses four minutes. This isn’t the old man waving at the clouds – when it sounded like the chefs were finally starting to cook, the ovens were turned off and the pilot lights extinguished, and it was just on to the next one. Borders of Mania has too many tracks that aren’t given enough space to breathe.


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6 / 10