Mortification - _10 Years Live Not Dead_
(Metal Blade, 2000)
by: Alex Cantwell (
This is the third live release from these Aussies that most metal people love to hate. No matter what your opinion is of this band, though, you have to admire their persistence, and especially that of lead man / bassist / vocalist Steve Rowe, as his bout with leukaemia has brought him close to death many times over the past few years. Mortification has always had a unique sound, somewhat grounded in the style of Sodom and Kreator, and over the years has morphed from a thrash/death outfit to death/grind and back to thrash, but have been moving towards a more "classic metal" sound since the formation of the current line-up, which is rounded out by Lincoln Bowen on guitar and Keith Banister on drums, who have both been in the band since 1996, making the longest lasting Mortification line-up ever. The lead off track is a new song entitled "Dead Man Walking" about the leukemia struggle, and is fairly powerful but nothing to write home about. There is also a medley done in the way that Metallica combines a slew of old songs together (a technique which I absolutely abhor) and includes bits from "Lymphosarcoma", "Destroyer Beholds", "Distarnish Priest" (during which Steve commands everybody to "jump" -- gack!), and "Love Song". Besides the inclusion of those "songs", the furthest they go back into their catalogue for this disc is "Mephibosheth" from 1995's _Primitive Rhythmn Machine_ [see CoC #3 for Gino's less than glowing review of that album]. The weaker moments of this performance include "Chapel of Hope" and "Liberal Mediocrity", as they are not energetic enough songs to be included in a live Mortification performance, if you ask me. The highlights include "Buried Into Obscurity", "Martyrs", "Peace in the Galaxy" and "Hammer of God", which to me made the disc worth owning. Because of the current style of music that Mortification is doing, besides their hardcore Christian supporters who gobble up everything the band does, I'm not sure who their audience is, and it is evident that their impact on the secular music scene has been lessening over the years (even though they have enjoyed a healthy amount of European exposure courtesy of Nuclear Blast over the last eight years), as I don't know one single metalhead who is not a Jesus freak that would even give them the time of day. But as this live CD testifies, that is certainly not due to their lack of musical talent, but rather to the hostility aimed at Christians in general in the metal scene.
(article published 10/25/2000)
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