Forty Winters – Rotting Empire
Label: Dead Truth Recordings
Release Date: July 22nd, 2016
Rotting Empire is the second full length record to be released by Forty Winters, that delivers a concoction of hardcore, deathcore, and some sprinkled thrash to spice it up. The final result is some twisted amalgamation of punk-infused deathgore. Forty Winters hail from Coral Springs in Southern Florida where they constantly shape their metal scene with intense shows and an impressive work ethic. While being previously unknown to my ears, they’ve easily shown they are well-known in their local scene and are continuously growing.
As mentioned above, I haven’t come across Forty Winters once in my aural travels. This ends up being somewhat advantageous for the project, given their genre (which some may find to be over-saturated as of late). While most would be wary, I decided to travel headfirst into Rotting Empire and see exactly what it is made of.
Forty Winters get straight to the point with this record. This is easily heard in the first couple minutes, with the band immediately punching you in the throat and throwing you into the mosh pit. “Summoning Spirits” gives the listener everything they need to know about the next 23 or so minutes of Rotting Empire. Yes, the album is short, especially for those that are used to long progressive treks or long-ensuing hypnotisms of grandeur. In fact, Forty Winters has effectively cut away the atrophied flesh to get to the sinewy muscle of blistering savagery. This record doesn’t hold back and doesn’t give a damn about guitar solos or interactive choruses. It just wants to kick you in the stomach until you hit the ground where it will pick you back up and repeat the process, with or without steel-toed boots. To that end, Xavier Vicuna delivers a relentlessly caustic vocal attack, drummer Scott Dotson pulverizes the kit, and guitarist Jeff Stevenson keeps it all chugging along with barbarous and meaty riffage.
This presents a few issues though, as the band comes off a little one-dimensional with their songwriting approach. Forty Winters are great songwriters and know how to get their listeners pumped, but that seems to be what 95% of their music is. Some moments are filled with another emotion, surprisingly: A feeling of dread and despair fills the air when “Empty Tombs” begins and slowly builds up in intensity to the band’s normal routine. “Looming Serpent” contains this same approach, but within the added layer of vocals that take on a deeply demonic and earthshaking growl. These moments bring chills down my spine more so than others. These are my own personal gripes and I don’t want to take away from what the band wants and likes to do, I just feel like there is some untapped potential underneath all the eviscerating energy.
Rotting Empire isn’t groundbreaking but it doesn’t have to be to be enjoyable. The amount of “enjoyability” that one gets is relevant to one’s own tastes. People will love or hate this, with few residing in between. However, this album is ripe with toxic brutality and roiling aggression and it is definitely worth a listen and possibly worth adding to one’s collection. Forty Winters is a band that wears its affiance on its sleeve, and Rotting Empire suggests a promisingly ruthless future.