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District Destruction - 80%

Infernali, September 13th, 2012

Checking the updated information on Germany’s Mortal Infinity shows that the band has changed their amateurish logo present to a newer more slasher like style, which isn’t my preferred logo style but better than their previous one I guess. Logos, cover art, t-shirts worn by the band members, thanks lists when they do them, it all matters to me; it’s part and parcel of the product. I was also surprised that there isn’t another band called Mortal Infinity listed on the MA site, maybe the band should copyright their name judging by the number of acts prefixed or suffixed with the word Mortal.

Virtually every thrash album that has come out, especially during the classic years, starts with an intro sequence that sets the scene for a ferocious riff to start the album proper and Mortal Infinity are no different. The acoustic intro is fine with a nice lead solo drifting over the top as the rhythm guitar, bass and drums up the heaviness as though approaching the slip road to the motorway (autobahn, freeway etc). The riff that starts off “Thrill To Kill” shows the huge impact that Evile has had on the world of thrash as the tune is prime time Bay Area with the hallmarks of Testament. I’m not too convinced by the gang chant vocals, they sound a little false and maybe strained a tad. The band also uses an intermittent snare blasting style very like compatriots Dew-Scented. More Testament is thrust onto “At Dawn Of Death” with the short sharp stabbing riffing technique being followed by a cracking interlinking riff and increase in speed. The vocals are vehemently spat out, they lack a bit of definition and would benefit from some variation in tone instead of sticking to the extreme style all the time. This album also possesses the chunkier riffing style of Annihilator and a bit of Megadeth too on “Wake Of Devastation” which uses a surge of modernised double kick rhythm to make it that bit heavier and also has a cymbal smashing riff that sounds excellent.

Any band vying for Bay Area like riffing cannot escape the clutches of the pioneering Exodus which is very true on “Retribution” and going for the jugular with its crazy tempo and lead work. The title track plus “Condemned Rising” utilise Slayer riffs but the variety used on later albums, the ones you probably despise to be honest, but here they sit well within the speed of the songs. The former thuds along like a sledgehammer to the chest and the latter even veers towards death metal as the vocals take a dip down substantially. It is good to get a thrash album that has big variations in speed and structure, never resting on all out speed for impact. When the speed elements are introduced the consequential momentum that flows within the song is increased ten fold. Closing the album is “Sound Of Brutality” and for a change the band has decided to end their debut with a fast Slayeresque song that packs a vicious punch. The head banging section is also awesomely situated, creating a violent balance between all out punishing snare smashing and slower more deliberate face ripping riffing.

There is little in the way of fault apart from the vocals which aren’t terrible, but just lack variety, and whilst there are countless thrash albums like this out and about there is plenty of conviction shown here that will set the band up for the sophomore effort which needs to come out very soon to maintain some momentum and keep the band live in the world’s underground.

Originally written for www.rawnervezine.co.uk

Most mortals can't grasp the concept. - 70%

hells_unicorn, August 10th, 2012

There’s a pretty strong consensus amongst newer adherents to the thrash metal scene that the subgenre’s revival should stick to the olden ferocity of high speed riffs, over-the-top drum beats and a middle of the road compromise between air-raid sirens and gruff vocals exemplified by the classic green, red and black days of the 80s. Historically speaking, Germany has put forth its fair share of all three colors, though much of the unfettered rage attributed to important acts like Kreator and Destruction showcase a scene somewhat biased in favor of the proto-death metal red form. But in newer bands like Mortal Infinity, there’s a surprising affinity with the modern, grayish character that has been prominent amongst the reformed Bay Area acts in the past 10 years.

“District Destruction” could very easily be lumped together with a number of recent albums such as Death Angel’s “Relentless Retribution”, Heathen’s “The Evolution Of Chaos” or Exodus’ “Exhibit B: The Human Condition” in all their chunky, punchy, modernized glory. But when combining said approach with a vocal assault that is very similar to the raw, Phil Anselmo inspired shouts of Chuck Billy of late (a sound all too often mistaken for death metal vocals given they bear some similarity to the high pitched, raw character of middle era Death and several Gothenburg acts), this thing literally sounds like it could have stood in the place of the just recently released “Dark Roots Of Earth”. The format at play here is quite aggressive, though taking care to walk a line between mid-paced groove and high speed thunder so as not to find itself lodged in similar territory as The Crown.

Though largely a style that’s not as intricate and involved as a lot of the insane earlier offerings of the Bay Area such as “Eternal Nightmare” or “The Ultra-Violence”, there’s a good amount going on here to keep things reasonably engaging. They do find themselves making a slight nod to the past during the beginning prelude with a dreary acoustic guitar line, though in a fairly different vain than the archaic haunting character of “Beneath The Remains” or the classicism of the intro to “Battery”. When “Thrill To Kill” kicks in, it’s clear that aggression is high on the radar, as one pummeling set of slamming, palm muted grooves interchange with a high paced drum beat that occasionally finds it blasting, much like the recent tinkering around the edges heard out of Testament of late.

Generally speaking, this album tends to be at its best when the songs are shorter and stick to the neck and body ruining tempo range. “Condemned Rising” and “Sound Of Brutality” basically steal the show by avoiding the overplayed breakdowns that tend to drag out most of the songs on here clocking in at over 5 minutes. There’s not a whole lot of technical showboating in the guitar solo department, which is not altogether unexpected for a band approaching a modern variant on this style. There are a good number of melodic twists to be found, most of them effective, but nothing that really stands out as an overt example of the fret board blazing madness that is still to be found in Testament’s work.

For the most part, this is a pretty consistent and fun listen, though I can’t really get overly excited about it. It seems to want to emulate Testament something awful, yet doesn’t quite follow through on the subtle intricacies of said band. Some of the riffs sound a bit similar, and the lack of an outright memory clenching classic, apart from maybe “Thrill To Kill”, it has a hard time keeping pace with the multitude of modernity infused albums coming out of bands that have been at this since the mid 80s. It wouldn’t be an outright waste to track down, but there’s other fish in the sea that have ingested far more metal from the polluted waterways of thrash.

Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on August 9, 2012.

German born, Bay Area borne - 68%

autothrall, June 15th, 2012

The first thing I noticed as I was listening through Mortal Infinity's first full-length album District Destruction: for a German thrash band, I would not say that they dwell upon a decidedly Germanic sound. You won't hear the acidic constipation of Schmier's vocals, the alcoholic pummeling of a Tankard, or the riffing complexity inherent in the better records by a band like Kreator at their peak. No, this quintet has a style far more akin to the West Coast US thrashers like Exodus or Vio-Lence around the year 1990 and records like Impact is Imminent and Oppressing the Masses, with a pinch of bands like Defiance, Heathen, Anthrax and Metallica added as seasoning.

Probably the closest comparison would be Exodus, though, or their coattail bands like Bonded By Blood, Warbringer and so forth. Part of this is that Marc Doblinger's vocals feel like a composite of Steve Sousa, Paul Baloff and Rob Dukes, but also the level of variation and meatiness to the riffing has that mid-paced, central focus that those flesh-pleasure peddling, piranha obsessed maniacs have been meting out since they broke out on MTV with songs like "Toxic Waltz". This is not necessarily a bad thing, because unlike Exodus on their most recent full-lengths, Mortal Infinity actually knows how to have fun with the guitar progressions, and the result is an enthusiastic, if somewhat derivative record with lots of guitar work to band your heads. The leads, while not entirely memorable, are exciting and transitional, the gang shouts (where they appear) lend a sense of street vigilante justice as intended. Doblinger isn't afraid to change it up and bark out a pure death growl (like the end of "AT Dawn of Death") and I found that the Germans were good at pacing themselves so that no two cuts sound quite the same (individual riffs are similar, but the overall arcs remain distinct).

The guitars have this copious, modern punch to them that would thrill devotees of the other groups I mentioned above, or maybe the modern Artillery outings since this Mortal Infinity occasionally threads in a few thrash melodies that help counterbalance the rather simple mosh rhythms prevalent in a track like "Wake of Devastation" or "Retribution". That said, I didn't find a lot of the music here to be all that innovative or, really, compelling. Without question, you can bang your head to a bunch of the progressions. The Germans truly love that mid-paced Exodus aesthetic which is sure to get any gang of smelly young thrashers whipped up in a fury, but I never felt like there was an innate cruelty or cutting edge which I almost always require in my thrash. I do appreciate that Mortal Infinity plays against type, more Bay Area than Sodom, and this surely must help distinguish them in their home territory, but ultimately I didn't get more than a passing enjoyment from the songs on this. It's not bad, though, and fans of the albums Shovel Headed Kill Machine, Tempo of the Damned, War Without End or the Bonded by Blood debut Feed the Beast might find a kindred spirit here, so they should check it out.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com