Throw your head down on the odd beats, rip it back on the evens. Use side-to-sides to handle surprise tempo shifts and make sure you hit a hair cyclone during that solo, even if you don’t have any hair. For all the heady emotions that metal might evoke—rage, introspection, euphoria, lamentation—sometimes your brain cells just need to fucking die. For those days, may I suggest Mutilated by Zombies? Messier than a six-year-old hopped up on Capri Sun and meaner than your local DMV representative, their third album Scripts of Anguish will take whatever petty emotion you happen to be feeling and make tapioca out of it (and your functioning grey matter). I hope you like it chunky.
“Decayed Manifestation” is traditional death metal for the traditional death metal fan. I don’t mean that in a gatekeeper, no-posers-allowed way; I simply want to illuminate how damn fun this record can be if you have the proper expectations. Mutilated by Zombies set those expectations early: a drawn-out intro centered on a clarion bass line, followed by a beautiful blend of buzz and beef, and finally the loving caress of them riffs. Josh DeMuth’s cavernous growls drag you through the Mariana Trench while and Jason Guler’s sinister screeches provide just the right amount of counterpunch. DeMuth’s beefy riffs are a roller coaster, capable of riding any tempo with ease and rocking a number of looks that never wear out. Likewise with Guler’s bass, which is given plenty of room to shine. The final product is metal you can’t help but lose it to. The savage yet oddly catchy “Crippling Despair;” the delicious pairing of technicality and bulldozering on “Gored;” the nuclear winds of “Instructions for Death” flat-out leveling you; every track gives you at least one good reason to sacrifice some brain cells to Scripts of Anguish.
When you’ve got the riffs, everything else just falls into place. Thankfully, the Iowans don’t overplay their hand. It’s not that their tracks wouldn’t work if stretched out past the four-minute mark—most songs don’t even make it that far—but why risk it when the alternative works so damn well? That’s not to say the music lacks variety. The slower intros of “Crippling Despair” and “Binge and Purge” defy my pessimistic expectations in both quality and execution. In the case of the latter, when a band clears out its ass stomping parade in favor of mid-tempo breather riffs (ick) reliant on the vocals (please no), it’s a surefire candidate to get torched in the third paragraph of an AMG review. Mutilated by Zombies do exactly this… and then lay down one of the best damn riffs on the record. Mutilated by Zombies excel at turning weakness into strength. More often than not, everything comes together as if to say, “we can do this quickly, we can do this slowly, but one way or another, your brains are ours.”
If you’re looking for me to nitpick the shit out of this, sorry to disappoint. “Sentry of Sleep” is kind of average. A split-second on “Crippling Despair” sounds like someone accidentally spliced in a Windows error sound, but it’s easy to miss. I’d like more out of the drums, at least production-wise, but I find no fault in Greg Mueller’s workman performance. Every facet of this threesome works superbly, chucking a blood-soaked surgical pan of forcibly removed organs in your direction at every opportunity. When you think your poor, addled dome can’t take any more abuse, highlight closer “Rise to Enslave” completes your neural liquefaction by touching on every aspect of what Mutilated by Zombies does well. If your frontal lobe isn’t a pancake begging for some Aunt Jemima by Scripts‘ end, hand in your cred and get the hell out of the Hall.
You came for this. You knew what to expect the second you saw that cover. This music is why you keep wearing that super-gross Cannibal Corpse tee to the grocery store despite that odd look from the cashier. I won’t sell this as groundbreaking material, only as plain greatness that caught me by surprise. If you can’t appreciate a death metal album as effective as it is unassuming, with compelling riffs heaped as high as a mushroom cloud, find another reviewer that will indulge your deficiencies. This one is perfectly happy to be Mutilated by Zombies.
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Redefining Darkness Records | Bandcamp
Websites: mutilatedbyzombies2.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/mutilatedbyzombies
Releases Worldwide: October 5th, 2018