Morbus Grave – Lurking into Absurdity Review

Sometimes you get a pretty good idea of what a promo will sound like based solely on the name and album title. Such was the case with Morbus Grave and their debut splatter platter, Lurking into Absurdity. I seized this sticky abomination based on the sounds my brain predicted would greet me upon sampling, and lo and behold, Steel‘s metal sense did not deceive. These Italian fiends are steeped in the gruesome ways of 80s death and seem to have a creepy obsession with the seminal works of Autopsy and Impetigo. Sporting a blunt, raw sound and truly vomitus vocals, the Morbus Gravers blend bludgeoning ugliness with slow, dreadful doom as they channel all the tentacled, blood-soaked horrors of the beyond. It’s a recipe we’ve heard many a time, and I can’t say there’s anything new added to the spew bisque. However, they do their ghastly work well and deliver compositions that excite the reptile segment of the brain that revels in violence and bloodshed. Let’s get our gecko on.

Nothing gets my death tooth ready like an eerie, doomy intro, and that’s exactly what “Intro (the Curse)” delivers to set the stage. Soon the ominous foreboding gives way to actual brutality with “Cerebral Cremation” and the shit hits the morgue slab. It’s like early Sodom spliced into Scolopendra with extra Autopsy sauce, and you know you want a bite of that rancid shit. Vocalist Erman continually evokes vomit sounds as if what the band is casting off cannot be digested and I love the extremity of it. The riffs are ragged, jagged, and pockmarked, full of scuzz and infectious waste and they seal the deal. It’s simply a fun, high-octane slice of OSDM with enough raw power to win any deathhead over. The band doesn’t tweak this formula much, relying on tempo shifts to keep things interesting from track to track. “Morbid Darkness” is thrashy and urgent, d-beaty without sounding much like Swedeath. “Morbus Grave” is horrid doom/death with thick, crushing riffs full of existential dread and the vocals skew from sub-basement regurgitating to weird Attila Csihar-esque moans and howls. Both sides of the Grave work well and give you coffin burns.

Standouts include the frenzied “Traumatic Malignancy” which references early Death and Obituary with aplomb while providing a weirdly memorable chorus. It’s been replaying in my head for 2 weeks at inappropriate moments and I have to resist the urge to chant it out loud. “Mangled” is another winner, again adding Attila-isms into the core formula for a high-speed flaming trash can of a tune sure to make you want to throw poo at fancy folks. While no song feels like a total waste of a burial plot, the closer, “Horrors from the Unknown” is overlong at 6:40 and just not as interesting as its compatriots. It’s evil and doomy, slow and eerie, but too plodding over too long a time to hold interest. That said, at a concise 37 minutes, Lurking is an easy death album to absorb that won’t make you feel weary until the very end if at all. The production is solid, with a pleasantly raw, murky sound that still allows everything to be discerned. The guitar tone could be jacked up a bit, but it gets the job done.

 

Frontman Erman is hands down the star of the show here, offering a varied collection of wet, loathsome noises. He frequently simulates retching and glorifies puking to a level rarely ever encountered outside an Autopsy opus, while also providing effective death roars and demon croaks. Basically, he sounds crazy and sick. At times he reminds me of the gloriously over-the-top Killjoy of cult death innovators Necrophagia and Chris Reifert of Autopsy fame, and that’s a sure way into the heart of Steel. In fact, his wretched retching takes me back to my jolly college days. Good times. Maso Alastor and Edy dredge up plenty of noxious riffs and slamming grooves, providing a buzzing chaos for Erman to coat in half-digested tummy tidbits. They especially excel at doom riffs that feel threatening. The solos that sound like they belong on a slasher movie soundtrack are also a win. This is the kind of band that knows their chosen genre inside out and effectively plunders what’s worked in the past. If you aren’t frequently reminded of Autopsy as the album unfurls, you have a scalpel stuck in your music appreciation lobe.

Lurking into Absurdity is a rotten meat n’ gut taters shocko taco of awfulness to be enjoyed with sketchy friends and serial killers alike. It’s not the best death you’ll hear this year, but its entertainment quotient is above average and the replay value is there. Morbus Grave is a name to keep a wary eye on. Well worth a long night in the crypt with. Are you Morbus?


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Unholy Domain
Websites: morbusgrave1.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/morbusgrave
Releases Worldwide: September 16, 2022

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