Album review: OHHMS – Rot

Kent sludge-metallers OHHMS get ghoulish on brilliantly bloodstained sixth album Rot…

Album review: OHHMS – Rot
Sam Law

OHHMS’ five records thus far have felt shaped by the imagery and ideology at their core. Whether reckoning on serious concerns like political upheaval and animal rights, or exploring the ancient mystique of the Tarot deck, the Canterbury collective are at their best when using message and meaning to channel their sludgy attack. Asking, ‘CAN YOU STOMACH THE EIGHT HORROR DRENCHED SONGS WITHIN?’ on its wonderfully lurid artwork, sixth offering Rot sees them tapping into their love of macabre movies across 37 minutes of thrills, chills and ghoulishly good times.

From the moment gleefully creaky intro Tonight’s Feature Presentation segues into the post-metal tinged, almost euphoric creep of first track proper Let’s Scare Jessica To Death (based on John Hancock’s 1971 indie-horror classic), it’s clear there’s an esoteric, affection for the subject matter. Eaten Alive taps into the joy of Tobe Hooper’s grotty 1976 killer crocodile with a fist-pumping singalong of ‘So hungry! / Eaten alive!’ Blood Feast leans into its buzzsaw bloodlust with unhinged relish, before Body Melt shapeshifts with fittingly weirdo, mind-melting exhilaration.

Crucially, OHHMS’ underground-trawling appreciation for the history and nuance of horror cinema dovetails perfectly with their approach to heavy music. Frontman Paul Waller hosts his own (excellent) deep-dive podcast on the shifting eras of fright flicks and fellow aficionados in particular will appreciate how his band translate Paul Wendkos’ 1971 occult murder mystery The Mephisto Waltz into a three-minute stomper or the inherent tension in Brian de Palma’s 1972 psychological classic Sisters into the album’s unsettlingly dissonant penultimate track.

Ultimately, though, Rot is a record that truly gets the primal thrill of a little blood and guts, and seven minute closer Swamp Thing couples its heaviest moment with its most straightforwardly bludgeoning reference point. And, although we’re sure they have a world of other influence they want to get into next, it leaves you with an appetite to see OHHMS dig back into the darkest corners of their VHS collection again in the not-too-distant future…

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Bossk, Green Lung, Deftones

Rot is out now via Church Road

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