Four Dimensions Of Auditory Terror is the latest slab of death metal mania from Rotted Life Records. This fatal fourway features Blood Spore, Coagulate, Soul Devourment and Gutvoid, some of the most bludgeoning bands in North America, each with one new song to spew. What hellish noise awaits ye within the multiple personalities of this new split?

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Blood Spore kicks off the punishment with a lead-footed thud. Their verbosely-titled “Olfactory Cordycipitaceae Ingress” evokes images of one snorting fungi, with a big stank to accompany this dank imagery. Deliberately doomy drums drive the sullen atmosphere, as a crunchy bass line crawls from the depths. The guitars saunter in with a five-note motif, and vocalist Chris Emerson narrates this portrait of death with a grim shriek, a wise contrast to the guitar and drum's bountiful low-end presence.

That riff initially slithers into one's ear canal, but after they meditated on it for five minutes going on an eternity, my attention began to drift— I wondered what else the Spore might have in store. The answer was a stiff blow into beatdown mode, as the sludgy section bursts into a thrashing, mid-paced melee. Seven minutes in, as if finally remembering how to play triple-digit tempos, they finally accelerate into a one-foot blast beat. It's a welcome dose of speed, but perhaps too little too late, as it quickly climaxes into its conclusion.

Though a bit long-winded, “Olfactory Cordycipitaceae Ingress” is a worthy opener that sets the stage for the carnage to come, with clear, loud production that gives their massive sound the space to ring out. If you rocked Blood Spore's Fungal Warfare Upon All Life EP and have the patience to be pummeled, this nine-minute fungal appetizer is a flavorful tease of what's in store for the upcoming portobello platter, their inevitable full length.

Up next is Minneapolis' Coagulate, another blood-themed band, whose vampiric song “Up From The Vats (Coalescence of Metamorphic Human Flesh Within a Gelatinous Fetal Stew),” punctures the jugular in tough hardcore fashion. This wordy track treads a similar tempo as Blood Spore, but with noticeably more hollow production in comparison. I struggled to hear the bass drums, typically the low end heartbeat that anchors the rhythm. The snare cuts through prominently, but still sounds like it's made of paper.

It's also another lengthy one that could have been tightened up, at eight and a half minutes. However, the listener's patience is rewarded at the six minute mark, when these Twin City psychos sink into a morbid guitar melody quite reminiscent of Autopsy's festering slow parts. Spindly distorted riffs web over its midtempo mayhem, and crescendo into a bombardment of blast beats and tremolo strumming. The totality of this enthralled me enough to forgive them for burying the bass drum.

Soul Devourment invigorate the split with a jolt of speed in “Veneration Of The Ascended.” Where the previous tracks tended to explore the doomy, atmospheric realm of extreme metal, Soul Devourment blister through hell with a buzzsaw-fueled vengeance. Their malevolent march surges ahead, thanks to a flurry of evil “oom-pah” drum beats, dripping in the veneration of albums like Death's Scream Bloody Gore. The six-string compositions are simple, but savage, and quite catchy. This throwback is a gleeful exercise in brutality.

This one also culminates in a blastbeat fueled section – a recurring trope on this split. It's total insanity, and then, just as I felt like I was getting properly acquainted with the band, the song fades out into a minute of spooky bong water sound effects. For the first time in this record, I felt a yearning to hear more, rather than a relief that the songs reached their logical close in under ten minutes.

Lastly, Gutvoid deliver a vicious victory lap in “Murmurations From Twilight Bodies.” This is another long one, at seven-plus minutes, with two dazzling guitar solos thrown in, and plenty of proggy guitar leads to blast the listener's mind up into the ether. The guitars descend into the superlow register of downtuned demoncy, a bit reminiscent of Portal at times, but the mix accommodates all the beefy twilight murmurations enough for them to blaze through the soundscape with balance and clarity.

This closing track also jumps around the most musical territories of the whole EP, comprising dissonant passages, brooding grooves, and a few Morbid Angel-esque guitar sections blurred together at a hypnotic, breakneck pace. Gutvoid's track also showcases arpeggios, twangy melodies, and even clean guitar tones. Their virtuosity extends a touch of sadistic sophistication to Four Dimensions Of Auditory Terror, a mostly brutish affair.

Four Dimensions Of Auditory Terror struck me as more of a sampler plate than a full meal to fill my gut...void. The four bands all contribute quality pieces, although they suffer at times from drawn-out runtimes and inconsistent production. This album reminds me of a mixtape one would make for their death-obsessed friends to get them hyped up for an upcoming concert (remember those?!?!) than a singular artistic statement. However, if you are an extreme metal freak grinding your teeth in anticipation for any of these bands' upcoming full lengths, or simply wish to indulge in a quadruple dose of doom and destruction, this split sizzles.

—The Necrosexual

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Four Dimensions Of Auditory Terror is available on May 14 via the joint efforts of Blood Harvest Records, Sewer Rot Records, Rotted Life Records and Black Hole Productions. Listen to it via Rotted Life here and Sewer Rot here.