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Most people would have a difficult time believing there has been any evolution to Mortician's sound over the years, but if one listens to the first few 7" records the band released, the change is pretty noticeable. The main difference on this record from the later material people are often more familiar with is the presence of a real drummer. Matt Sicher's drumming, to me, fit the Mortician sound perfectly. His drumming is pretty aggressive, but not overly complicated. Mortician's music is pretty straight forward and any showboating on the drums would be out of place.
The other difference is the overall sound. Since this is before guitarist Roger Beaujard joined the band, the signature Mortician guitar tone had yet to be established. On this record, John McEntee from Incantation does the honors and, mostly since this is basically a demo released as a 7", the production overall is pretty crude and raw-sounding, giving the guitars a rather metallic and slightly abrasive sound. Also, it sounds like the guitars are not tuned as low as they would be for the next record (most likely tuned to C, which is John's typical tuning) and certainly nowhere near as low as more recent Mortician material (which is tuned so low that Carcass albums sound like they were done in standard tuning by comparison), so the riffing is a bit clearer. Likewise, Will's vocals are gruffer and not quite as guttural as they would soon become. It is actually possible to pick out a few words here and there from his vocals on this one, a feat which is impossible on later releases. Even the samples, which people often complain about are a bit different on this one. There are only two this time around, one at the beginning and one at the end.
Overall, the recording itself is quite clear, despite the noisiness it possesses. The real problem is just the tone isn't all that great. I don't imagine the band had a lot of time to work on all the sounds, so it's to be expected on a release like this.
The songs themselves are great. All three songs on this record were later re-recorded for Hacked Up for Barbecue, using the infamous drum machine, so comparing those versions to the versions on this record really help to show the change in Mortician's sound during the first half of the '90s. There are various spots in the songs on this record that have a different vibe than their counterparts on Hacked Up, simply due to Matt's drumming, usually due to an accent on the snare in certain spots or just a more human sound on the double bass drumming.
What has always made Mortician work for me is that the riffs are good, if simplistic. Many people attack Mortician for the simplicity of the music, but for me, I would much rather listen to this music than many other bands, particularly the ones typically described as "brutal, technical" bands, because anything interesting those bands may be doing often gets lost in the constant onslaught of blurs of notes. Mortician, on the other hand, just comes up with some good and often catchy riffs and puts them together creating a sound that is distinct. When somebody plays Mortician, it is obvious that it is Mortician. I don't think the same could be said about many other bands, particularly more current ones.
Mortician. Oh, to wonder how many female panties have been soiled at the mere mention of that accursed name! More savage, brutal, and evil than their technical, more political contemporaries, Mortician have never let up for a second on an album ever in the history of time. Never. Unlike their contemporaries in bands like Last Days of Humanity and Mumakil, however, they are brutal in a death metal sense as well as in a grindcore sense. The group often plays at slower speeds to pummel the listener into a permanate catatonic state, leaving the listener stranded by the side of the road, chased by Tall Man (from Phantasm, you bitch!).
However, on their debut EP, "Brutally Mutilated" (1990), they sounded quite a bit different. On first listen, the only samples used are rather short in comparison to the long, drawn out murder sequences the band would later become known for, as well as the vocal style, which is sung in a higher pitched, more traditional death metal voice instead of the guttural, skin-tearing grunts and growls the band would later adopt. No drum machine either, as the drums are instead played by a human being (albeit no less fast). Even the band's infamous bass tone is toned down in favor of a cleaner sound.
The tracks bare little resemblance to the versions later recorded for "Hacked up for Barbeque" (1996) as they lean more towards grindcore than death metal. Open chords are used much more often, and the guitar tone is more staticy, and is bass-ridden. The drums are played rather sloppily, with the slower track ("Necrocannibal") featuring unimaginative, pointless drum beats which do little but match the riff-work. Some tracks have been changed, most obvious with the final track, "Necrocannibal", which adds a whole twenty four seconds to the track before the closing sample kicks in. However, the album offers little in the way of new, interesting material, instead passing itself off as little more than a decent, unimaginative grindcore release.
I would no doubt suggest this album to those who enjoy a good amount of old school, eighties grindcore, but Mortician fans may find little in the way of truly entertaining music here. It sounds a great deal like "Scum"-era Napalm Death, but less genre-defining or classic and more re-hashed. Check this out if you like grindcore but haven't been able to get into Mortician.