Steel Druhm once loved the retro thrash wave and rode it for all it was worth (as he talked of himself in the third person). However, like all waves, trends and scenes, too much becomes too much. As my passion for that movement fades, I find myself quite eagerly embracing the retro Swedish death metal wave that seems to be gaining momentum. Interment and Entrails already have quality retro death metal albums out and now Blood Mortized is set to contribute more excellently time challenged carnage. Composed of vets of the Swedish extreme metal scene and including former members of Amon Amarth and Crypt of Kerberos, Blood Mortized‘s four track EP Beastial is a scabby, crusty slab of rotten and fetid death just like Entombed, Dismember and Grave used to make circa 1990-1992. Clearly inspired by the “Sunlight Studio” days of yore, these songs will take you back in time before the days of “melodic death metal” and “death with clean singing.” Yes, this is raw, filthy old school death and it sounds gory and glorious!
Starting with the title track, Blood Mortized dive right into the pummeling mayhem. This is a gruesome, full speed rager with nasty, guttural vocals. The closest reference point would probably be the earliest work of Entombed. Although Mattias Parkkila sounds more like Martin Van Drunen (Asphyx, Pestilence, Hail of Bullets), he does channel Entombed‘s L.G. Petrov at times too. The songwriting style is very reminiscent of the material off Entombed‘s Left Hand Path. The guitar work by Andres Biazzi (ex-Amon Amarth) is sludgy and has the classic down-tuned, fuzzed out Swedish death tone. It isn’t flashy but that wouldn’t fit anyway. The solos are very minimalist and strive for a creepy mood more than virtuosity. Rather than remain at full throttle, “Of Dust and Doom” dials things way back to ponderous, grinding death doom. Although never getting out of first gear, it remains interesting in a weird dirgy way and has the charm of classic Hellhammer. “Shadow of the Quarter Sun” goes back to blasting death and its brutal and effective with interestingly creepy solos showing up again. Closer “Rekvium” is steeped in a morbidly dark atmosphere, it ranges from dirge to mid paced rumble, its filthy and evil sounding (until the oddball ending with chanting and bongo drums, weird but cool). I’m left impressed with all four tracks and I want more!
The production mirrors the early 90’s sound of all the prime Swedish death albums down to the detail. It essentially sounds like an early Grave or Entombed release. That’s exactly what they were aiming for so its a success. If you loved that period of time and that sound, you will eat this up.
Blood Mortized are shamelessly retro death metallers and know exactly who and what they are. As with Bloodbath and Death Breath, these guys are trying to keep the classic Swedish death sound alive and doing a really great job. I’ll be looking out for their upcoming full length and expecting good things and so should you. Steel Druhm shall ride the retro wave once again. (And even I have hopped on this little bandwagon. Bestial comes recommended from me as well! – AMG.) Bandwagon jumper!