Liverpool quartet, Colpocleisis, named their band after a surgical procedure to ward off pelvic organ prolapse through the shortening of the vaginal canal. That should give you an idea of their sense of humour and the style of music they play. This is the slamming brutal death metal of Suffocation and Cryptopsy rather than the early goregrind of their Liverpudlian forefathers in Carcass. Elegant Degradation is their second album, and it will press its fingers in all the mischievous orifices if this is your thing. Those of you rolling your eyes at yet another slam band might also be surprised by at least two-thirds of this record.
Let’s be clear: Colpocleisis are proud to write death metal in the savage spirit of primitive hunter-gatherers. You won’t find any extravagant solos here, nor can you expect anything more complicated than hostile guitar chugs and noisy snare hits. Opener, ‘Degrade’, is a mix of pinch harmonics and down-picking grooves with a high-tuned snare that could (dis)grace any Anal C*nt record. Vocalist, Jon Burr, sounds like a man cleaning his teeth with a toilet brush. Have you heard a gargle sound as painful as this? Maybe he uses sewage instead of salt water to ease the inflammation of this throat. You’ll squint your eyes in pain when his voice emerges over the excellent guitar and bass interplay on ‘Discumblobulated’. Joe Mortimer deserves the highest praise here for the way his growling four-string instrument rumbles underneath the guitar chugs like a distant thunder. There’s no doubt this band have a modicum of charm.
The first three songs promise the originality of a brutal death metal LP with no blast beats, but the formula changes at ‘Toxoplasmosis’. Then they smash your skull with a succession of rapid cuts that begin in chaos and settle into the standard palm-muted chugs like a rainbow following a spell of rain. Of these, only ‘Flagellating at the Slab’ offers something resembling old school death metal with a bigger emphasis on tremolo riffing. ‘#ProlapsoVaginal’ will hold your attention for different reasons. How does one minute and seventeen seconds of down-tuned grind with gratuitous zombie vocals sound as an evening lullaby?
Of course, the biggest drawback of Elegant Degradation is the certainty that two-thirds of the album will be enjoyable, and the last third will be more cumbersome than a tractor on a busy A road. This is an iron law of the brutal death metal genre. Congratulations if you can keep up with the monotonous violence of the last four tracks on this LP. Perhaps a game of identifying the film/TV drama/sitcom dialogues at the beginning of each one will motivate you to see it through to the end. (Peep Show and A Clockwork Orange are two you’ll find here.) The band members of Colpocleisis are proud of their relentless onslaught. They might see it as a compliment if you find their music vexatious. There’s more merit than punishment in their art if you give it a fair chance.
Producing a tolerable album in the genre of brutal death metal is an achievement to be celebrated. It might be the most formulaic and repetitive sound in extreme metal, but Colpocleisis show that it can be fun for most of the journey.
Release Date: 03/03/2023
Record Label: Reality Fade Records
Standout tracks: Discumblobulated, Toxoplasmosis, Flagellating at the Slab
Suggested Further Listening: Stillbirth – Strain of Gods EP (2021), Bonecarver – Evil (2021), Stabbing – Extirpated Mortal Process (2022)