I’ve actually been having a bit of a problem this year. While this is supposed to be the big year for all the big-named metal bands that I love, I can’t help but get the feeling that no one is putting out records that are even nearly as good as they should be. OK, I really got into the new Vintersorg, but I thought Septic Flesh was a letdown, as was the new Amon Amarth. There are others that I can’t mention yet, but let me just say, I’m disappointed with pretty much all of my favorite bands this year. So when I got Vomitory‘s Opus Mortis VIII and popped it in, I can’t say that I was expecting much more than that same ol’ same ol’ feeling of apathy. I was beginning to think, frankly, that this was my problem. But Vomitory helped me realize something, this is their problem, not mine.
Opus Mortis VIII is definitely exactly what I was looking for. It’s a brutal death metal record that has all the gore, brutality and awesome that we expect from a good death metal band, plus a feel similar to that of Torture Division or Bloodbath, the combination of a bit of grind, but also lots of traditional Swedish death metal melody and heaviness. But don’t get confused, this is not a retro death metal band by any stretch of the imagination. Vomitory has been at this since the early 90s (when they were putting out demos) and they have perfected this riffy, brutal but slightly melodic sound to an art. Opus Mortis VIII is one more piece of proof of this.
I’ve not listened to the band’s whole discography, unfortunately, but I started listening to them back with 2007’s Terrorize Brutalize Sodomize and also enjoyed 2009’s Carnage Euphoria. What I can say for Opus Mortis VIII, which only clocks in at about 37 minutes, is that it doesn’t seem as blasty as the previous two. I might just be imagining things, but there feels like a bit more groove and riffyness going on. The production here, too, bears mentioning because this record has a bassier sound than the last two. While the drums still sound replaced, the whole production is just meaty like a hammer getting smashed into your ears when it starts up. This lends to this more Bolt Thrower or Demiurg kind of feel to the production, and that’s no insult.
I have trouble escaping this aching feeling that someone is going to complain about this album, however. Because it’s not as straight-forwardly br000tal as maybe some of the band’s previous work, I think it might get panned within the death metal community to some extent. However, if you like groovy death metal there is absolutely no reason that you wouldn’t also love this. I suspect that fans should get into this, but certainly the sound is a tad different from Terrorize Brutalize Sodomize at least in that respect. But the things that they’re doing on Opus Mortis VIII are things they have been doing on previous albums as well.
So break up your new-sound and follow-up monotony with some death metal done the way its supposed to be done (that is, like Vomitory does it). If tracks like “They Will Burn” and “Combat Psychosis” don’t move you, then you need to get your hearing aid fixed. Sure, this isn’t super techy death metal, but it’s got a good, honest feeling that is desperately needed in this day and age. Oh, also it’s catchy, brutal and just as good as everything else I’ve ever heard from these guys. So go forth and purchase. I deem Vomitory Opus Mortis VIII Record o’ the Month for April, 2011.