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Mordhell – Graveyard Fuck

Mordhell
Graveyard Fuck
by Matt Bozenda at 08 August 2020, 12:00 PM

There’s something satisfying in the bare simplicity of Black Metal, a vaguely punkish sort of vibe that eschews convention and breaks a lot of rules. Thrash has the same sort of appeal, and the similarities are so stark that some metal scholars place Black Metal as one of Thrash’s bastard children. There’s more to the equation than that, of course, and the distinctions and finer points can and has led to some rather heated discussions. And like any war between barbarian factions, the solution for peace comes with less of an olive branch and more of a pact written in blood.

The spawn of such unholy alliances has a scion for 2020 in "Graveyard Fuck," the third full-length album by the Polish powerhouses of MORDHELL. There is a distinctly sinister air swirling about each of its thirteen tracks, a potent mixture of Black and Thrash metals, and when combined with a few hints of doom and death this a true alloy worthy to arm the Metal Gods. MORDHELL seems to have always been compared to another Black Metal heavyweight, CARPATHIAN FOREST. There may be something to that, but a metal outsider would be hard pressed to make any distinctions between any two bands in the genre, so to make further comparisons with bands like, for example, MAYHEM, or CELTIC FROST, or BATHORY, may not quite tell enough about what this album is doing, even to someone in the know.

The first track, "Mandatory Killing" comes in heavy with all the Black Metal waystones in place. Now, there are enough bands that even with proper guidance can’t pull off any metal formula with consistency, largely relegating them to the history books. Not so here, as MORDHELL’S sound just plain works for several more tracks. Then there’s an uncharacteristically melodic pace to the refrains of "Rotten Cunt Adoration," and it happens to work very well to bridge off the album’s opening third.

It wasn’t broken so there was nothing to fix for the album’s middle, with songs like "Headless Dreams" and "Last Punishment" continuing to do what has worked so far. The aging metalheads among us might even get nostalgic for the days when we could headbang for longer than fifteen seconds (without needing a handful of Aleve). That aching in the neck doesn’t stop for the home stretch either. "Fed To Pigs" gets extra percussive with the double-bass late in the track, and that continues on into "Toothless Bitch."

A prophecy of doom opens "Cursed To Walk This Earth," which is much slower than the tracks which precede it. However, the band’s talent lies in the fact that they slowed it down without touching the brakes. The brakes, unfortunately, belong to "Morbid Orgy," which is more a collection of evil sound effects. As closers go, this one does miss the mark, but then Black Metal, like punk, isn’t about satisfying everybody, and the gulf between studio recordings and live shows means this one probably won’t ever go in the setlist anyways.

There is very little to dislike for the devout metalheads in "Graveyard Fuck." Like Paul E Dangerously used to say, ‘Accentuate the positives, hide the negatives’, and that’s rather apt here. Whatever one might call drawbacks to the genre of Black Metal, like the mostly unintelligible words, those critiques are the only ones to be found, as the members of MORDHELL have done very little to fuck things up themselves. They took nearly ten years to make another full-length album since 2011’s "Suffer In Hell," but this album has the potential to be the genre’s pick for 2020. It won’t wake the dead, but your neighbors might have trouble sleeping.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Mandatory Killing
2. Nekrodesekration
3. Cum Dumpster
4. Plastic Scum
5. Rotten Cunt Adoration
6. Burned To The Ground
7. Headless Dreams
8. Last Punishment
9. Splitted Skull Confessions
10. Fed To Pigs
11. Toothless Bitch
12. Cursed To Walk This Earth
13. Morbid Orgy
Lineup:
Bloodwhip – Guitars
Diabolizer – Drums
Nuclearazor – Bass
Grimmessiah – Vocals
Record Label: Pagan Records
     


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