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Morbific - Squirm Beyond the Mortal Realm

Morbific
Squirm Beyond the Mortal Realm
by SJ Loschi at 03 December 2022, 4:08 AM

You’d be hard-pressed to find any band with a collection of more gloriously named songs than the slabs of old school death metal that grace MORBIFIC’s second full-length “Squirm Beyond the Mortal Realm”. If the song titles are anything to go by, while we’re eating our breakfast out of plastic bowls, the boys in MORBIFIC are devouring their meals out of the open skulls of their enemies in the kitchen of their meth mansion, celebrating another successful harvest of heads. But naming songs is pretty far down the to-do list in terms of MORBIFIC’s creative onslaught on the death metal genre, and “Squirm Beyond the Mortal Realm” offers up an entire soundtrack for those who need to bind, torture and snuff their way to metallic victory.

It doesn’t take but a few seconds into the first song to realize that this is going to be a HEAVY album.  After an ominous keyboard swell, the band comes in with a bass so ridiculously deep, sludgy and nasty that you don’t so much hear it as feel it.  I’m sure if MORBIFIC has neighbors near their practice place they’d have to attach the china cabinets to the walls, lest the sheer gargantuan seismic waves generated by bass player Jusa’s four-stringed assault cause a porcelain disaster.  There are elements of brutal New York death metal band MORTICIAN in this sound, but MORBIFIC comes across as a much more organic and raw version of the death metal that the former band has made. Onni’s drums aren’t so much sloppy as they are deceptively complex and varied, and it's this wild flailing of sticks that makes traditional death metal like this such a percussive delight. Indeed, there are songs on the album where Onni’s drum patterns seem to be at the forefront of the song, while Jusa and guitar player Olli lay back and paint the fills with brutal layers of filth. Jusa’s vocals are a guttural after-thought, buried in the mix, another color in the sonic palette of disgust that MORBIFIC has used to paint this portrait of aural misery.

Second song “Bind, Torture, Snuff” is one of the best examples of all of this coming together.  It’s a mix of traditional death metal, coupled with some really cool punkish riffs over the chorus, where Onni’s drums play an almost rockabilly-like sway with the snare while Jusa growls about drugging, cuffing, binding, torturing and snuffing some unfortunate soul. “Suicide Sanctum” is a mid-tempo banger that also leans into the dirty, sludgy, punk side of old school death metal, with some cool alternating tremolo picking and nasty little pull-offs that make up one of the three or four motifs buried in this celebration of self-harm. The song devolves into a doom-inspired slog through the mud before transitioning into the album’s intermission, “Initiation into Oblivion'': an ominous, dark, ambient-inspired bass-driven instrumental, punctuated with the obligatory church-bells of heavy metal infamy.

“Meth Mansion Murders”- clearly the best use of alliteration in modern metal history- is an album highlight.  There’s a lot to unpack here: the song is a groove-laden, pure, old-school death metal delight about the worst meth lab ever. It starts with a four-to-the-corpse-covered floor beat, before dropping into the melodic lead that serves as the song's motif before the inevitable collapse into inhumanely fast, blackish riffing. There’s even something like a solo tacked onto the end of the song.  With lines like “no one is looking for the dead crackheads/undead feast on human flesh and meth” it’s clear that MORBIFIC can still manage to keep a smirk on their faces while surrounded by the carnage of a houseful of tweaking homicidal zombies.

While “Squirm Beyond the Mortal Realm” isn’t breaking any new ground, it’s a respectful, fun-filled (albeit a disturbing, gory kind of fun) take on old school death metal.  A sound this full from a three-piece deserves to be heard, and the incessant, putrid racket these kids are making makes it that much harder not to hear it, even if you tried.  It’s a solid contribution to death metal lore.  And while most of us would agree it’s best to avoid being baptized in the fluids of decay, as MORBIFIC would like us to think, if that decay is being sprayed from beyond-the-pale bass tones, gut-churning guitar riffs and and the deplorable destruction of drums, than consider us all disciples of the MORBIFIC clan.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Squirm Beyond the Mortal Realm
2. Bind, Torture, Snuff
3. Meal From an Open Skull
4. Suicide Sanctum
5. Initiation into Oblivion
6. Meth Mansion Murders
7. Baptized in the Fluids of Decay
8. Pathogenic Injection
9. The Head Harvest
10. Malignant Germination
Lineup:
Olli - Guitar
Jusa- Vocals/Bass
Onni- Drums
Record Label: Memento Mori
     


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