RottenThrough dark and tortured black metal, this four track ep deals with gnosis, sin and chaos. Well, this is France. What a lovely picture the duo that is Rotten Liver paint. Actually it’s all rather jolly as the first track “Infamous Nil” bounces along, Khold-style, slowing down here and there for a few sinister notes and the statutory vomitary emission. To throw us off the scent, there’s a break and “Infamous Nil” slows down and plunges eerily into the instrumental hall of death. Lively, rasping black metal returns and we are left to wonder at this highly accomplished mixture of sinister and melodic black metal.

I very much like the fact that Rotten Liver don’t set themselves any musical rules. After the live-wire opener, “Become the Arcanthropos” gives off a foul stench. It’s a struggle but the musical equivalent of fires and furnaces starts to stoke up and blaze away. The track moves without fuss into an exquisitely sombre piece of guitar work. This is followed by “Black’n Rot” which again moves cleverly between harsh metal and breakneck rock n roll. It’s full of venom but it’s not crude. Atmospherically, it is glacial while constantly changing pace. Thoughts of Immortal’s “Blashyrkh” came into my head as I listened to this. A woman then screams in agony and the blackest of black metal starts. Dark clouds gather. This is the title track. It is another exercise in ghastliness. A sinister riff develops as if life is being sucked away. “This is the smell of death” whispers the rasping vocalist. This grim statement sums it all up rather nicely.

“One way to the light …. debauchery”. It only last 22 minutes, but “Purification by Debauchery” is a jolly good frosty blast with some nice instrumental movements to keep us absorbed and downtrodden.

(7.5/10 Andrew Doherty)