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Mutilate - Contagium

by Jorge Zamudio at 05 June 2019, 9:21 AM

For sure, this is a really good release. I'm going to try to analyze the high moments, as well as the the low ones. When I say low ones, I mean that although overall this is pretty enjoyable, there's a few things that didn't sit right. Obviously, there is more on the good side than the not, so let's dive in and take a look.

As far as the highlights go: “Vile and Disgusting” starts in a BOLT THROWER mood (well, actually the whole album is done in that mood), with fury, but little speed accounted for. This is just fine, as there is really no need for speed at the beginning. But then, from out of nowhere the speed blasts kick in, complemented by a nice vocal, reminiscent of old school death metal, not terribly impressive overall, but it is a very good start. “Eyes of a Child” is slower, and really catchy. It also has these drum changes that I loved. Although it sounds constant, the drums give this special unique touch, flowing along with the riffs, but also always one step ahead. “Black Fate” is more furious, raw and relentless, in terms of the already established atmosphere.  The song has a very catchy solo, though it's short and repetitive, it simply accentuates  the rest so well that is impossible not to notice it. “Skeletal Haunting” is probably the fastest song here of them all. It has bridges that change the whole moment,and maintain an incredibly haunting feel. I do really love the vocals here, they're not growling, but instead they sounded a little bit muted, successfully providing the rawness they sought. (At least that's what I think they were going for.)

As for the low (not really all that low) moments: The other songs all have similar  characteristics to what I've mentioned above, but overall lack the uniqueness of the tracks I highlighted. Not terrible by any means, just somewhat uninspired. But the biggest low affecting the album is the production. I just don't understand what they were trying to accomplish with the production and mixing. Even though I have an idea of what they wanted to do, some moments of songs essentially go wasted, and some of these should be standout moments. All because elements seem tuned way down. At least too much for me.  I know bands like the aforementioned BOLT THROWER did things like this too, because of the quality restrictions of the time and what they had to work with. But in 2019 I think bands can get rawness and blasts from the past with a better sound, not letting the production waste really good moments.

Overall, I do strongly recommend this album. Death Metal fans will love it, and I know MUTILATE have written catchy memorable moments, that won't soon let you forget “Contagium” anytime soon. I know I plan on keeping this one for many future listens.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 7
Memorability: 10
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Vile and Disgusting
2. Quartered
3. No Faith
4. Eyes of a Child
5. Falling Into Darkness
6. Black Fate
7. Decapitator
8. Skeletal Haunting
9. Contagium
Al Sandberg - Bass
Thompson Marsh - Drums
Hans Kristianson - Guitars
Simon Kirke - Vocals 
Record Label: Iron Bonehead Productions


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Edited 08 December 2022

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