Mortification - Scrolls of the Megilloth
Death Metal
10 songs (58:45)
Release year: 1992
Reviewed by Tony

A long while back while I prepared and painted forklifts for my family business, my overstudy was a reborn Christian. He came from a heroin addiction to raising a family and selling his soul to God. I was unsure of what to think, but one thing that constantly perturbed me was his disdain for my musical tastes. One day, he brought me a bootlegged copy of this beast. I laughed it off as some sort of stupid Christian rock act in the lines of Creed that he was convinced was true Heavy Metal. Well fuck I was wrong!

From the first note plucked, the first cymbal crashed, the first line uttered, my line of thinking went from those stupid compilation infomercials complete with long-haired Christians holding lighters and singing with their teary eyes shut, somehow still gazing to the sky, to crusaders hacking up their enemies with halberds, scorched infidels, and the sheer brutality the church wrought upon nonbelievers in its heyday as the leading thinking tank of Europe. This record changed my views upon the limitations and achievements of Christian music. It did nothing to alter my religious beliefs or lack thereof, but it did blow my mind.

Scrolls of the Megilloth begins with almost two minutes of natural sounds. Something that resembles frogs, insects, and other noisome creatures. Could this be a reference to the plagues of the Old Testament? The song is entitled Nocturnal. The consistent theme in the animal sounding intro is that each of the animals detected is nocturnal. This opening track is one of the more progressive on the album. There are moments of surefire aggression, and others where the guitars and bass weave around each other as if they are dueling. The bass guitar is very audible, and while the guitar tone does punch hard, it is excellent that all three instruments are at a nearly even keel with volume control. Furthermore, the vocals do not overwhelm the rhythm or leads, making for a much more accessible listen. Yes, Nocturnal is an outstanding track, complete with a spooky intro, strong riffs, and a great bass line, but Scrolls of the Megilloth truly takes flight on track two. Terminate Damnation begins with a few measures of blasts, but within the first minute of track time, it becomes evident that this is not your meat and potatoes Death Metal. There is a moment of calm in which a chord is struck, followed by the vocals of Steve Rowe. The fury in which he attacks the unbelievers is horrifying in itself. Never before had Christian music proved itself so frightening. There are a few early groove moments, with solid double bass vibes rolling under the verse. Later, once again the gates open for blast beats, before a thrash beat lies under a verse. When discussing this album, it is an absolute necessity to explain the variation in rhythm.

Look at a band like Cannibal Corpse. They are one of the greatest Death Metal bands of all time, and while they are not necessarily praised for their drumming, Terminate Damnation quite possibly contains more drum beats in this single song than the entire library of Cannibal Corpse. What makes this such an exciting album is that no individual musician outshines the others. Everyone here plays a fantastic album, with everyone doing their part to make not only the songwriting, but the musicianship a source of consistent excitement, even though Scrolls of the Megilloth was released so long ago. Terminate Damnation is a beast of a song. So many of Mortifications songs begin as if they are a typical Death Metal song. With a flurry of rapidly strewn power chords laid over a standard blast beat, but what makes Scrolls of the Megilloth a true classic is the depth of each song. Each song resembles a great horror story, with a build up, rising tension, and a final confrontation, complete with the corpulent details. In this sense, whilst discussing other comparable mediums of artistry, I would compare this album to their sheer genius of the Hannibal Lecter series, or an H.P. Lovecraft book, unlike the witless slasher vibe that so many other Death Metal bands evoke.

Each song stands out as its own individual monstrosity. No two songs blend together, from beginning to end. Some songs even have an entirely different vibe than when they themselves began. Scrolls of the Megilloth, the title track, begins with an ominous church organ that grows into a horror inducing crystalline clamor. This only before the song busts down the door and rips a new one to the listener.

If the essence of Death Metal is fury, bloodthirst, hatred, and brutality, then Christianity takes the cake. Not to be critical of religion, after all, this is a Metal review, not a Bible review, but Christianity has accounted for plenty of wrongful deaths and unwarranted torture. If they don’t keep it up, Islam will take the crown. If Death Metal represents the human mind in a merciless form, then these agents of Christ have created what is frankly one of the pillars of the so called Golden Age of Death Metal. Equally provocative as it is innovative, Scrolls of the Megilloth is unique, unparalleled, and frantic. Never before has Jesus been this Metal.

Killing Songs :
Tony quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Mortification that we have reviewed:
Mortification - Mortification reviewed by Kyle and quoted 86 / 100
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