Forged in flames and baptized in blood and blast beats, Semi Rotted embody the blackened heart of extreme, groove and tried-and-true old school death metal, yet kickstarted for another generation with a guttural groove of their own. Guitars cut like a buzzsaw, while a barrage of drums and growls steamroll anything and everything in the way. This is uncompromising, uninhibited, and undeniable. The Las Vegas, NV band—Jeremy Spencer [vocals], Shawn McGhee [guitar], Alessandro “AP” Paveri [bass], and Steve Carey [drums] —exorcise an extreme sound of their own on their 2022 independent debut EP, Deader Than Dead.
“I come from heavy music,” exclaims Spencer, “I’m a part of heavy music, and I miss heavy music. It’s what I want to do. I’ve always loved all kinds of metal, especially death metal.”
Spencer first embraced the genre back in high school. He graduated from Slayer to the likes of Death and Obituary. After catching the latter on tour with Sacred Reich, he recalled, “I’d never seen anything like it, but it was fucking awesome.” Of course, Spencer went on to showcase his prowess behind the kit on a series of platinum releases and sold-out arenas tours with chart-topping juggernaut Five Finger Death Punch, but he arrived full circle with extreme music in 2022.
At the top of the year, he embraced the genre wholeheartedly once more. He feverishly collected vinyl from the likes of Mortician, Cemetery Lust, and many others. Every morning, he would blare death metal favorites as he drank coffee and poured over the lyrics. “I became a fan all over again,” he goes on. “I decided, ‘I’m going to do a record like this’.”
He joined forces with frequent collaborator and longtime cohort Shawn McGhee on guitar. Spencer also returned to his seat behind the kit and recorded the drums on the record, as well. Meanwhile, Gemini Syndrome’s “AP” contributed bass. Together, they cut what would become Deader Than Dead in Las Vegas. They maintained the hallmarks of the classics, but with a twist. “It’s groove death metal,” he notes. “There’s something a little different about it.”
The first single “Torture Congregation” [feat. Will Ramos] fuses a mind-numbing double bass barrage with a head-nodding hook. Jeremy’s menacing vocal delivery bleeds into a pummeling cameo from Lorna Shore frontman Will Ramos.
“I kept hearing Lorna Shore on Liquid Metal and on playlists,” he recalls. “Will does really unique things with his voice. It’s amazing. When they were in Las Vegas, I went to the show, and I was blown away. We reached out, and Will sent back his vocal in like two days. He’s at the top of the genre. It’s a killer collaboration.” The sound of glass breaking adds another dimension to the wicked atmosphere of “Hammer Teeth.”
Elsewhere, “Shotgun Symphony” crystallized the vision of Semi Rotted with its relentless beatdown. “We went into this going, ‘Let’s just be fucking brutal and have fun’,” Jeremy goes on. “ ‘Shotgun Symphony’ was the first track. It took shape really fast. So, we’re like, ‘Let’s just run with it’.” On the title track “Deader Than Dead,” Jeremy’s possessed vocals rattle the momentum of smart bombprecise guitars and focused drum air raid.
“I had that title for a while,” he reveals. “I knew I could write something brutal around it. So, lyrically I came up with the most obnoxious shit. None of it’s real, but it’s fun. I had a fucking blast here, because I’ve been writing gory lyrics since 13. It hasn’t changed much for me.” In the end, Semi Rotted is everything death metal should sound like in 2022—and bloody more.
“When you listen to this, I hope you have a fun and solid listening experience,” he leaves off. “It’s meant to listen to from start-to-finish. Enjoy each moment. It kicks your ass, grabs you, and doesn’t let you go.”