Mortification - Mortification
Intense Records
Death / Thrash Metal
11 songs (38:07)
Release year: 1991
Reviewed by Kyle
Archive review

When I first searched the Metalreviews database to find out if any Mortification albums had been reviewed prior to this one, I was genuinely surprised to find that there were, well, none written at all. Why one of the first and best metal acts to ever come out of Australia and one that has such an expansive discography which features the underground classic Scrolls Of The Megilloth is a mystery to me, though there are a few possible reasons why. First off, the band is decidedly Christian in its lyrical content, the words written in the “Punch Satan in the throat and kick him down to Hell” style. Second, the band’s discography is pretty sketchy; a few of their albums are truly great, some range from decent-to-good, and others still are just plain bad. The fact that the quality of their albums doesn’t follow any sort of pattern in the band’s timeline makes finding their best albums a difficult task for new listeners. But their first four albums are easily their best, and as with most bands, the best place to start is at the very beginning.

Mortification released their self-titled debut album in 1991, and to my knowledge, there was nothing that sounded even close to it at the time. Their style is a mix of Swedish death metal (Think Entombed’s first two albums), aggressive Slayer-style thrash, and a hint of American death metal, plus various other influences from multiple genres, giving Mortification a style that sounds very fresh and inspired, even twenty years later. The album begins with Until The End, which is a very appropriate title because once this song storms out of the gates of Heaven riding on holy thunder, the album hardly lets up until it reaches its end. The song begins with a misleading riff, sounding like a mid-paced thrash track, before some extremely quick tremolo riffing and double-time drumming kicks in, taking you by surprise – not only by surprise, but totally unarmed!

Though a Christian band Mortification may be, their beliefs have not in the least compromised their playing abilities or aggressiveness. No Return is simply some of the most blisteringly quick death metal I’ve ever heard; yes there’s many a song out there sporting faster tempos, especially when it comes to the blast-beat heavy material that's being released in a constant stream today, but for some reason this song sounds much more frantic than many of those bands; perhaps it’s because of the sub-par production that successfully lends the album a charm all its own. Break The Curse is another true standout; clearly the band had some Motorhead influence when they wrote this song, as the speed metal drumming and Lemmy-esque bass line are very similar to songs like Ace Of Spades. But there’s more; once you get about twenty seconds into the track, there’s some black ‘n’ roll riffing that sounds like Motorhead blended with Under A Funeral Moon-era Darkthrone. No, I am not kidding. Even the vocals are slightly blackened here as opposed to Steve Rowe’s standard evil death metal growls. And this album was released a whole half a year before that band’s switch to black metal occurred! Though very rooted in the early 90’s death metal style, as you can hear from this track, Mortification was far ahead of its time with this record. Other influences are abound throughout the album, including a doom metal portion on the first minute and a half of Journey Of Reconciliation, and some early Suffocation-style brutal death on The Majestic Infiltration Of The Order (Once again, Mortification was released BEFORE Effigy Of The Forgotten!); there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy here.

A few tracks, unfortunately, are fairly standard death metal pounders that lack either the speed, aggression, or originality of the other songs, but for the most part, Mortifcation is a very, very good album that will more or less hold your attention over the course of its thirty eight minute running time. It simply refuses to accept the claim that Christian metal is inferior to secular metal. This is an extremely underrated album from an already underrated band that is a perfect buy if you’re looking for some old school death metal that will still sound somewhat fresh today.

Killing Songs :
Until The End, Bathed In Blood, No Return, Break The Curse, Journey Of Reconciliation, The Majestic Infiltration Of The Order
Kyle quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Mortification that we have reviewed:
Mortification - Scrolls of the Megilloth reviewed by Tony and quoted CLASSIC
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