Album of the Day: Fatuous Rump, “Propagation of the Foul”
By Noah Berlatsky · September 20, 2017

On their first collaboration, Taiwanese metal veterans Kai Lee and Larry Wang (Maggot Colony, Coprocephalic, etc.) come out swinging. Lee, who plays all the instruments, creates grinding death metal grooves that keep slowing down to a doom-paced trudge, not unlike Japanese semi-legends Coffins. The album opener “Guillotine” starts with classical Chinese flourishes, cut off by a baby’s cry and a fat, trundling metal riff. That sound is consistent throughout; whether you’re listening to “Prolapsing Malevolence,” “Repugnant Cultivation,” or “Caustic Anatomized Stench,” your head bangs to the same heavy-heeled march.

The music is satisfying in its unabashed filth; the vocals, by Wang, though, are almost miraculous, bubbling up from guttural depths plumbed by few since Demilich’s Antti Boman paved the way. Wang doesn’t so much sing as gurgle—a monstrous, burping gargle that suggests approaching sandworms experiencing intense intestinal upheaval. At points, like at the beginning of “Feeding the Disavowal,” he sounds like he may be forming words, but whether they’re in English or Mandarin or some language too hideous to be named—no one can possibly understand them well enough for him to incriminate himself. There are rhythmic groans and long screams so subterranean they almost turn into whistles, punctuated every so often with a satisfied “Urrrupp!” like an enormous toad flopping onto a fly. Propagation of the Foul is brief, but it packs as much ridiculous heavy, or as much heavy ridiculousness, into its not-quite-half-hour as any album you’re likely to hear this year.

—Noah Berlatsky

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