Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mortal Decay - Brutalizing Creations (1995)

I understand that many folks out there equate these guys with the whole "br00tal/slam" death metal thing as a result of a few of the members other involvements (ahem... 'Waking the Cadaver!), not to mention that MDK were essentially weaned during the mid-late 90's alongside many of that genre's pioneers, such as Dying Fetus, Disgorge (U.S.), Gorgasm and Devourment. I've always felt that it was a rather unfortunate tag given that the band's earlier material has more in common with the Scandinavian death metal scene of old while their full length endeavors were much more thought out and, frankly, on a much higher level than the lion's share of their generational counterparts.

Brutalizing Creations is the last release by the band to feature the utterly bludgeoning low end guitar attack that one could rightfully equate with something that could have easily been released from Finland circa 1991. Oddly enough, original vocalist John Pauline was something of a dead ringer to Demilich's ultra-croak master himself, Antti Boman, though Pauline, believe it or not, had a much wider array of weaponry in his vocal arsenal such as raspy/higher ended shrieks and some rather hateful sounding bellows that bring to mind the first Deicide album.

As previously mentioned, the guitars are ridiculously low tuned and their masters knew just how to properly manipulate each riff and nuance to create a truly gloomy and morbid atmosphere. Another thing that I always loved about this demo is the frequent use of harmonics. To me, there is nothing eerier sounding than a bombastic low ended double chug followed by a creepy, high pitched "whoop"!

The lyrics are a true crime readers wet dream as the majority of the lyrics are inspired by a multitude of real life serial killers and their exploits. Really, Mortal Decay is one of the only bands that, for my money, successfully covers this territory as the music truly goes hand in hand with the lyrical content. There are some genuinely bizarre and cringe inducing moments where the music perfectly captures a particular phrase, such as the harmonic laden chug that accompanies the line "photographs of the deceased in assorted positions", and if that wasn't enough, the voice that Pauline employs to accentuate the moment is among the most disturbing and truly horrendous I've heard in my 25 or so years of listening to death metal.

The final piece to the sordid puzzle is the absolute stellar drumming of Anthony Ipri. I don't mean stellar in the robotic and mechanical sense that most folks seem to think of when they envision skills behind the kit. There is a purity, and "earthiness", if you will, to Ipri's technique that I find to be sorely lacking in the underground metal scene. Somewhere along the way, people became obsessed with blast beats and this air tight and clinical approach that almost sounds unreal to my ears. Ipri's style hearkens back to the days of old when a recording sounded slightly better than a live recording, meaning, the band actually sounded like they got together and fucking jammed with one another. Not this totally lifeless and overproduced way of recording things that every two bit death metal band has been obsessed with as of late.

Again, Brutalizing Creations and the demo before it, Grisly Aftermath, are supremely reminiscent of the style of death metal that was being released from out of Scandinavia during the late 80's-early 90's. There are a few blasts here and there but there is a strong emphasis on doom laden atmosphere with a goodly sum of mid paced chugging as well. In my mind, this is a classic release through and through. MDK would follow this up with their first full length, 'Sickening Erotic Fanaticism', which, decent in its own right, will never hold a candlestick to the band's second and third demos, which I'd put up against just about any of the classic releases to have come out of Sweden or Finland during those countries golden years.

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