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Majestas Leprosus is the third full-length album from Mütiilation. Released by Ordealis in a limited number of 2000, in March 2003, this record continues the style that was established on Black Millenium; i.e. the departure from what many would consider as the classic Mütiilation sound. Meyhna'ch does his best to keep this project going, but it just is not the same. The main impression that one gets upon listening to this is that it could have been so much better with a full line-up and different production. While it may be hard for some to believe, based on the rough sound and poor musicianship, the demos and other early releases set a standard that was never again matched.
Compared to the old Mütiilation stuff, this 'should' compare quite favourably. Everything is far clearer and the sloppiness is almost completely eliminated. The rough edges are gone and the overall sound is very crisp and manufactured. That is not to say that the band opted instead for a modern, overproduced approach; this still sounds like underground Black Metal. The main problem is the drum programming. It sounds awful and gives a real mechanical feeling to this. In addition, the lack of a real drummer means less variation and more predictability. To make matters worse, there seems to be some terrible effect on the vocals that only adds to the unnatural vibe and kills off a lot of the potential that this had. Meyhna'ch's vocals once conveyed such hellish misery and hatred, yet here his true voice is suppressed. The final nail in the coffin is the guitar tone, which sounds like the result of being recorded digitally (perhaps, directly onto a PC), possessing absolutely no rawness whatsoever. For anyone familiar with the old material, like Ceremony of Black Cult or Remains of a Ruined, Dead, Cursed Soul, it would be almost unthinkable that the band could achieve a worse sound, but the overly sterile feeling of the band's later period is a crime against music.
As for the songwriting, itself, Majestas Leprosus is filled with good riffs that hearken back to the band's glory years. The epic tremolo riffs of "Tormenting My Nights" and "Bitterness Bloodred" would have fit into the dark atmosphere of Vampires of Black Imperial Blood, without question. Despite the horrid production, it is clear that even the vocal patterns are more thought-out and Meyhna'ch's voice is utilized as yet another instrument. Once the listener is able to get used to the inferior production and focus on the guitar melodies, then it is possible to appreciate the sense of despair and hopelessness that bleeds forth. "Beyond the Decay" offers a few sorrowful melodies that also serve as a soundtrack to self-mutilation, though it begins with some rather uninteresting riffs. "The Ugliness Inside" hearkens back to the demo period, though the wretched production does not allow it to realize its potential; which would be an accurate statement to describe the album as a whole. "If Those Walls Could Speak" is not so bad, doing a decent enough job in maintaining the sickened, suicidal atmosphere, but certainly displaying more in common with the newer phase of the band's existence, rather than its dark past.
As for the rest, it is pretty much worthless. The intro and outro are barely worth mentioning, and songs like "Destroy Your Life for Satan" and the title track are horrible. Regarding the former, the only good riffs are relegated to being background noise. The first half of the latter is little more than random noises, with Meyhna'ch playing with various effects that he must have just discovered while recording. It comes off as the experimentation of a curious child, with no real thought to how it might add to, or detract from, the overall album.
In the end, Majestas Leprosus does retain enough of the same elements to bear the Mütiilation name, but it does not live up to the standards that one would expect and this is certainly no place for new listeners to begin exploring. Even the very best songs on here are stifled, due to the method of recording and lack of a full band. Nonetheless, if you are a loyal fan or simply able to look beyond its flaws and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of melancholy that it gives rise to, Majestas Leprosus is worth checking out.
Written for http://ritesoftheblackmoon.tripod.com
The fourth full length from Mutiilation is definately very different from the previous classic Vampires of Black Imperial Blood and the old demos, but it is certainly not bad by any means. The sound is basically a continuation of Black Millenium, but with even more distortion and simplistic drumming. The drum machine here really takes away from the music IMO, with its being totally buried underneath the wall of guitar. You really can't hear it very good at all. Willy's vocals are demented. He sounds like a mix of Atilla and Abbath. He spews forth nihilistic visions of total death in his lyrics. The riffs are really enjoyable too, especially on songs like Tormenting My Nights and Bitterness Bloodred. On this release, the riffs are your basic fast as hell BM, with an almost industrial feel to the entire thing. Most of the riffs are tremolo picked exclusively. Willy has gone for a more generic approach IMO, but nonetheless it works pretty good. It's just not nearly as good as old Mutiilation.
Now the production is a total desaster. Everything is so fuzzy that it takes something away from the music entirely. Sometimes the riffs aren't able to be heard because of all the fuzz. I'm not saying this is the worst production ever, and neither is it really bad, but it just lacks something. The atmosphere presented here though is great.
Mutiilation apparently was kicked out of the LLN because of Willy being a drug addict. I don't know if he still is or not, but judging by some of the lyrics on this and the newest one Rattenkonig, I'd say he maybe still is.
So in conclusion, shoot up your heroine and destroy your life for Satan!
Do not get me wrong: this album is poor compared to Mutiilation standards on earlier releases.
This thing is a deranged journey through the dark and painful world of Meyhna'ch. The riffs are really different from what Mutiilation used to work out in the past, being more complex and precise than the previous simplicity and sloppiness. Anyway, Mutiilation advanced towards a faster general tempo, faster riffs and a more generic black metal sound (comparison to Mayhem popping up, although it is better than anything Mayhem has done). The guitars are more cutting than ever, and they also have a weird distortion effect, as if every note is being played double-time. Probably they were fragmented by the almost undecipherable drums.
The vocals sound like Attila Csihar got torn from the grave and strangles himself. Meyhna'ch spits necrosis-ridden screams on a constipated, venomous tone. And the lyrics... man, these lyrics are damn hateful, not in a satanic way, but in a nihilistic one. Give a listen to Beyond The Decay Of Time And Flies and Tormenting My Nights.
Beginners should enjoy it. But da old ones like me know that Meyhna'ch could have done much better... (or worse, it depends how you take it).