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Sunday, 15 January 2017

Reviews: Morta Skuld, Alluvial, Impalers (Reviews By Rich)

Morta Skuld: Wounds Deeper Than Time (Peaceville)

Morta Skuld are an old school death metal band who formed in Milwaukee in 1990. After a string of albums the band called it quits in 1998 before reforming in 2012 and Wounds Deeper Than Time is their first post-reunion album and their first in a whopping 20 years. Thankfully this album has been worth the wait. Morta Skuld have released a slab of proper old school death metal smashing and crashing away like it's 1993 once again albeit complimented by a modern sounding production.

Most of the nine tracks are crushing mid paced bruisers with plenty of old school groove and moments of all out speed and aggression such as the crippling velocity of Scars Within. The band also know how to bring things to a slower more menacing pace whilst still maintaining the same levels of brutality. There seems to be a renewed interest in old school death metal bands with a whole new generation of bands trying to emulate the filthy sound of these bands from the late eighties and early nineties but as proven with this album you simply cannot beat the original bands who were back there in the day. An essential listen for fans of all things brutal. 

A huge welcome back for Morta Skuld. 8/10

Alluvial: The Deep Longing For Annihilation (Self Released)

Alluvial is a collaborative project between Keith Merrow (of Conquering Dystopia) and Wes Hauch (of Black Crown Initiate and formerly of The Faceless) and The Deep Longing For Annihilation is the debut album from the project. The pair play a mixture of progressive and technical death metal albeit in instrumental form. Auditions were held for a vocalist but in the end it was decided to leave the music as it was originally written.

This works to the albums disadvantage in my opinion as this music would work far better and be far more engaging with a vocalist. Unlike the majority of progressive/technical death metal which is usually style over substance this album isn't a load of fretboard wankery and many of the compositions have real atmosphere and depth and the music on display ranges from the brutal and ferocious to the calm and introspective.

The musicianship on display is absolutely top notch and whilst there are plenty of guitar solos they are used sparingly which increases their effectiveness. Whilst the musicianship and compositions produced are impressive I did find my interest starting to wane about two thirds of the way through the album as I find instrumental albums difficult to digest in one sitting. If this project was to return for a second album I think the addition of a vocalist would give the music an added dimension. Still an impressive effort and debut album. 7/10

Impalers: Styx Demon - The Master Of Death (Evil Eye Records)

Impalers are a thrash metal band from Denmark and are one of the new generation of thrash bands replicating the sound and style of old school eighties thrash metal sounding like a cross between the German and US Bay Area thrash styles. Styx Demon: The Master Of Death is their new EP which contains two brand new songs and two cover versions. 

The two new songs are straight for the jugular, ripping thrash tunes with opener Megalodon being a bludgeoning thrash attack and the title track Styx Demon following a similar approach but with a bit of a NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) influence running throughout. The two cover versions are high octane renditions Death Comes Ripping by Misfits and Prowler by Iron Maiden. Both covers are fairly true to the originals but with a bit more bite and aggression. In summary this EP is not essential listening but it is a very fun and enjoyable release. 7/10

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