Mortician - _Domain of Death_
(Relapse, 2001)
by: Paul Schwarz (7 and 2)
This is a face-off between two gore-drenched, sample-ridden death metal albums, one from probably New York's oldest and worst gore-obsessed death metal band, Mortician, the other from comparative newcomers, Aborted -- who hail from Belgium, formed in 1995, and have one previous full-length release behind them. You'd think with over ten years of experience and time to learn behind them, Mortician would by now be able to come up with something better than the utter shit that is basically every one of their albums, but no: Mortician are mercilessly consistent in the ultra-low quality of their releases. This latest platter of dog turds gains one point over its predecessor for being slightly less awful (partially by virtue of featuring Pungent Stench and Disastrous Murmur covers; the less Mortician "originals" the better, I say) and one point for being 13 minutes shorter than 1999's _Chainsaw Dismemberment_ [CoC #42]. All the same, Mortician fill 37 minutes with crap riffs, crappier (and even weaker) computer programmed 4/4 drumming (with yet weaker tin-can-rattling... I mean blastbeats), lengthy (and generally uninteresting) samples, and incomprehensible vocals singing lyrics which -- far from being disturbing or dark -- read like the scrawlings you might find on the back of an exercise book or school diary of any random, sexually frustrated, horror film-obsessed teenager in just about any highschool in the US or the rest of the world -- there's always one... When you then look at the picture of Will Rahmer in _DoD_'s CD booklet -- where he is stripped to the waist, wearing sunglasses, wielding an axe, and even seems to be conveniently buffed for the occasion -- you are left in no doubt that only his brilliant mind could have come up with works of poetic genius like "Maimed and Mutilated" ("knife cuts through internal organs / axe embedded in your sternum / ice pick puncturing your eyeballs / hammer cracking open your skull"), "Extinction of Mankind" ("blood raining from the skies / storms raging in the night / death foretold billions die / fires burning roasting flesh / rats feeding on the dead / world dying it's the end") or "Mutilation of the Human Race" ("mass destruction / dead and dying / painful screaming / blood is flowing"). What I find ironic about Relapse/Mortician's constant affirmation that Mortician are the planet's most brutal band is that I wouldn't say they're even in the "most brutal" 50% of all the Relapse releases I've listened to -- and, as you probably have already gathered, that's quite a few -- and I'd imagine would not be considered in the "most brutal" 50% of all the Relapse/Release releases in existence, in my esteem. In fact, "50%" is a -safe- estimate; I wouldn't be in the least surprised if Mortician weren't in my "most brutal" 75% of the Relapse stuff I've listened to. I am here interpreting "most brutal" as meaning the albums whose brutality has had "most impact" on me -- initially, and, on repeated listens. I would also like to point out that I don't actually think that the claim that a band is the "most brutal" can be established with any true objective meaning attached to it. All I am saying about Mortician is that in my opinion, if there is a "most brutal" band, I don't think it can be them; I don't have a replacement band on whom I -wish- to bestow the accolade in Mortician's stead. However, I do have speculative choices for "most brutal" band or album in mind -- as a reviewer and a music listener respectively. Mortician have always been all talk and no follow through. One note of Suffocation would utterly crush the so-called "heaviest band ever to stalk the metal underground" -- and so would Aborted's second album. Well, maybe _Engineering the Dead_ could only manage to give _DoD_ a sound thrashing, but that doesn't detract from the fact that it surpasses Mortician's latest on a multitude of levels. Firstly, _EtD_ has a heavier sound. Secondly, _EtD_'s (real) drums sound harder and I'm sure some of their blastbeats are faster too. Third, it is quite simply better written: better riffs and more of a variation of riff types are far better structured into songs than Mortician have ever managed. And fourth, and most satisfyingly, _EtD_ has a better array of horror movie samples, and uses them better. _EtD_ is a better than average slice of wholly unoriginal death metal peppered with samples. _DoD_ is a spectacularly uninventive, weak-sounding slice of wholly unoriginal death metal peppered with samples and crap, computed generated blasts. I wouldn't say you need to buy either of these records, but if you gotta buy one, Aborted are by far the better and more worthy band to contribute your money to. Additionally, if you'd like to check out something with a similar blastbeat-crazy focus as much of Mortician's work, yet is infinitely better, I recommend Obscene Productions' Cripple Bastards compilation, _Almost Human_ [see review this issue].

(article published 12/8/2001)

8/12/1999 P Schwarz 0 Mortician - Chainsaw Dismemberment
4/13/1998 A Wasylyk 1 Mortician - Zombie Apocalypse
2/4/1997 A Bromley 6 Mortician - Hacked Up for Barbecue
2/9/1996 G Filicetti 5 Mortician - House By The Cemetary
5/13/2001 M Noll Marduk / Mortician / Vader / God Dethroned / Amon Amarth / Mystic Circle / Sinister / ...And Oceans / Bal Sagoth Baptized by Fire and Beer
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