MORTICIAN - Mortician

Mortician - Mortician

11 songs
56:15 minutes
***** *
Pure Steel


Beware, here’s a possibility of confusion! We are not in the presence of the rather well known and excellent American grindcore death metal band. Instead these Mortician are an Austrian band that was active from 1983 to 1990, during which they released a couple of demos. This was followed by a nearly twenty year long break before the band decided in 2009 to give it another go. This eponymous album is the band’s first longplayer. Only two members are left from the quartet’s original line-up.

The Austrians have definitely found the right record label for the music, as metal cannot possibly sound any purer. Metal purists will enjoy this if they are only on the lookout for retro sounds. Right from the start with the entertaining opener Change Your Behaviour, we are transported back into a time when bands like Paradox, Agent Steel and Exciter were still a reference. The strained vocals also help the song’s retro success. Unfortunately I soon get the impression that Mortician have given it all already with the opener, as many of the following tracks lack the initial charm. There are still some undeniable gems (Dead Beauty, Speed Addict) to be discovered, but the remaining material sounds carelessly cobbled together. Classic heavy metal does not necessarily have to sound overly complex, but in this case a lot of things have been done just too plainly. Even the vocals that are throatier on those tracks don’t work as well as when they soar in the higher registers.

The eight studio tracks are followed by three live tracks with considerably poorer sound quality, which can be forgiven considering the circumstances of this being an underground band. On stage the band sounds even more chaotic than in the recording studio, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

There are some interesting moments to be discovered, but all in all Mortician lack the potential to make their mark in the traditional metal scene. The world would have been just as well off without this comeback, but as long as the four musicians have a good time and don’t do any other silly stuff instead, we shouldn’t dissuade them from their good intentions.

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