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Horror movies and heavy metal are certainly no strangers. Death metal has incorporated influences from films befitting of the genre's violent sound for almost as long as the genre has existed. Many attempts to meld the two have had garish results that were enjoyable nonetheless (see: Gorelord), but rarely have they produced music that was as consistently dismal as that of Mortician.
The fatal flaws of this EP (as well as much of Mortician's catalog) are twofold: firstly that far too much of the total running time is occupied by samples, and secondly that this band is nearly incapable of writing a decent riff. Samples are usually the most polarizing aspect of music in this niche, and I would like to be on the record as stating that not only can they be used effectively, but that Mortician provides us with an example of that on the title track. The famous "Freudstein's House" monologue from House by the Cemetery, complete with the eerie synthesizer backing track, is the perfect example of how to use film samples in this style of music. It is certainly not a coincidence that the aforementioned sample is from the only track on this album worth more than a cursory listen before throwing it aside.
The title track is all there is to see here; this would be much better as a single than an EP. Even so, it strains credulity - the sample takes up more than half of the duration of the track, and the drum machine spits out a gravity blast so absurd that it breaks the listener's suspension of disbelief. Drum machines are a necessary evil for some groups, and as with samples, I will posit that they can be used well. The key to using them effectively is to make their artificial nature as unobtrusive as possible. Mortician aims for the opposite of that, instead making their drum machine perform parts that sound impossible for a human to replicate. Furthermore, they inexplicably give the drums a few measures of exposure in one passage, revealing to the listener precisely how heinously artificial they sound in isolation.
The sample used in the opening track is acceptable not for its length, which is too long, but rather for the scream that blends with the music as it crescendos into the mix. Aside from that, the remaining samples are all worthless and unfailingly detract from the finished product. The monologue in World Domination is particularly awful, whereas the exchange we hear in Driller Killer is merely silly. The two cover tracks are the only ones here with anything resembling musical merit, although the absurdly low guitar tone and gurgled vocals do little more than soil the originals. In contrast to what the guitar and vocal style do to the cover tracks, I will admit that they enhance the product otherwise. The guitar tone in particular is noteworthy for being miles ahead of the whiny tone that plagued extreme metal for much of the early 90's, managing to be as low as imaginable while still producing distinct notes.
The final three tracks here are all complete throwaways, containing nothing but samples which are utterly forgettable and riffing so unimaginative that all three are essentially interchangeable. Perhaps because the band actually noticed this, riffs are repeated in several places throughout the EP. The riffing here is so remedial in general that it is an honest surprise when something manages to catch the ear. The two most pleasant surprises occur in Driller Killer and the title track, in which Mortician experiments, however primitively, with time signatures other than 4/4. Every other passage is either a sample, slow chugging drudgery, or impossibly fast blasting.
Aside from the killer cover art, there is little to like here. Truthfully, there is little here at all - if one were unfortunate enough to be in possession of the 7-inch vinyl version of this, you would have yourself barely five minutes of actual music. For a similar but more visceral experience, put on a drone album and go hug a threshing machine.
This is an early Mortician release, and after hearing their later stuff you can hear the apparent difference. This release is a lot more raw, but just as brutal as ever. Most people who have heard Mortician can pridefully say they have heard 'Zombie Apocalypse', and their works like that. This would be the first Mortician album I would suggest you check out, it is their first full length without their real drummer.
What can you gain from hearing this album? Well, if you're a fan of grindcore influenced death metal, a lot. This album is filled with down tuned guitar lines, which don't carry much variation. Even so, they are simple and heavy, which is always entertaining. The bass isn't as over the top on this album as it is on later Mortician albums. It is audible, but no where near the top of the mix. I wish it was pushed up just a tad more. The drums are programmed well, and are not on the top of the mix. They aren't too loud, or inhumanly fast. I really like the drum programming on this album. The vocals are Rahmer's special grunts, which happen to be really low, brutal grunts. I haven't heard many vocalists do death grunts as low as Rahmer does his.
The other really cool thing about this album are the two cover songs. I really find it cool that Mortician would cover a Celtic Frost song, specifically 'Procreation of the Wicked'. This is the heaviest Celtic Frost cover I have ever heard in my life. The down tuning makes it sound very brutal. The second cover song is 'Scum' by Napalm Death, in their grindcore days. This song is a perfect cover for Mortician, especially the bass introduction. These two covers are done very well, and I enjoy listening to them a lot.
'House by the Cemetery' the beginning to me favorite era of Mortician. This album is filled with down tuned, brutal music that will satisfy any fan of the extreme. I know Mortician get's a lot of hate, but give this album a shot. Hell, even the cover songs make it worth checking out.
This is the only Mortician release that really manages to give 'Hacked Up For Barbecue' a run for its money. It goes about its immense quality in a different way; 'Hacked Up For Barbecue' has its almost shockingly morbid atmosphere whereas this relies more on its core of filthy brutality to get its point across. It lacks subtlety (even moreso that Mortician usually does), but at no other point did Mortician sound as raw and horrifying as they did here.
The production is very raw, heavy, and noisy, and has a seething quality to it that makes your skin crawl. A particularly cheap and trashy drum machine is used, which oddly enough works, especially with the very strange, pulsing kick sample which adds an even greater industrial edge than usual. The guitar tone is enormous, disgusting, and all over the music, while the growling bass lurks under it as though it's going to spring out at any moment. As you can tell, it's a masterpiece from an aesthetic standpoint, and as Mortician doesn't change, the aesthetics are perhaps the most important quality. Needless to say, the production or lack thereof does wonders for this CD.
It's notable that on this release, literally every track features at least one slow section, and most of the songs are completely low tempo. There's a surprisingly small amount of blasting on this CD, which for a fan like me who's always thought that Mortician's chug and groove stuff was better than the blasting, is absolutely phenomenal. The music on this EP is nothing but groove after predatory groove. They even play around with off-kilter rhythms occasionally, like on 'Driller Killer', adding an even stranger edge to already alien music. The content isn't substantially different from regular Mortician except in the emphasis on low tempos, so it won't change any minds, but it's immense for fans.
This is almost unbelievably ugly music, feeling maybe the filthiest that Mortician's ever been. It's strange to me that this EP gets more approval than just about anything else in the Mortician catalog, considering what seems to me to be a particularly inaccessible style when compared to their later works, but I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder. Anyway, it's excellent and you should most certainly get it.
Mortician are one of the most consistent bands in the business. While most metalheads, myself included, would also add that they are "consistently bad," this EP is actually pretty bearable. It's exactly what you would expect from Mortician, but something about it raises it a few steps above the typical garbage these fellows put out. I think part of it is the brevity of the release; even at just about 24 minutes, I've pretty much hit the maximum amount of this music I can take. There are a few brief moments of talent and listenability here and there, and so if one were willing to brave a Mortician release, this would probably be the most rewarding one.
Mortician play a very, VERY repetitive form of death metal with some grind elements, dominated by extremely long horror movie samples, retardedly low vocals and guitars, and a relentless, very obvious drum machine. Most of the songs sound the same, although there are actually fairly memorable riffs in the title track, and the covers of "Procreation (Of The Wicked)" and "Scum" are actually kind of fun, and Mortician make them their own. Nevertheless, everything else on this album is in general forgettable, and it all blends together into a mush of horrid drum machine blasting and gurgles.
While it's kind of sad the two best songs on this release are covers, this album still probably stands as Mortician's best output. While there is still zero creativity, as to be expected, the album is still fun in a perverse way, and I don't really mind when it's playing, although I rarely actually have a desire to listen to it.
I have to hand it to Mortician though; the music really is a perfect fit for the campy horror movies that they love so much. Of course, the value of these horror movies at all is extremely questionable, as is the existence of Mortician.
If you want to hear what it would sound like if Neanderthals played to death metal, Mortician are the band for you.
Mortician is a perfect embodiment of musical purity. The fact that Mortician’s albums sound extremely similar is a result of the band’s devotion to fundamental principles of extreme metal. Mortician does not compromise by experimenting, branching out, or “evolving”. Mortician is anti-progressive, minimalist death metal - and nothing else.
Mortician’s music contains no guitar solos or drums. Its programmed percussion (via drum machine or computer program) sounds unnatural and unmusical. The bass guitar sounds like an incomprehensible wall of buzzing static. The guitars are tuned down and maximally distorted. The vocals sound like a combination of low belching, a kitchen sink garbage disposal, and a large waterfall. Overall the sound is IMMENSE, especially when played out loud on a decent stereo. No band has a more MASSIVE sound.
Most of the songs sound extremely similar, but dynamics do exist. Most notable is the fact that nearly every song begins with an excerpt from a horror movie. These film excerpts range between several seconds to two minutes. The music starts right at the climax of the movie clip. Most songs include blasting fast parts that sound like a vacuum cleaner full of marbles getting sucked into a jet engine. The fast parts are interrupted by slower sections that are more musical and riff-oriented. The riffs are repetitive, ultra-heavy, and memorable. They are the most effective element in Mortician’s sound (followed by the vocals and movie excepts).
I chose to submit this as a review for House By The Cemetery because it is a prototype of their subsequent releases and probably my favorite Mortician album. This is definitely a love-it-or-hate-it album and band.
A poor example of brutal death metal and grind. Instead of buying this CD, go purchase a horror movie. Tracks 1, 3-5, 8, 9, all begin with audio clips from various movie scenes. It's not just a little intro either, the bullshit runs on for like a minute into each track. The songs are short to begin with, so it leaves about thirty seconds of actual "music" per track. Roge Beaujard isn't bad on the guitar. He plays descent fast death metal, comparable to old Cannibal Corpse, but heavier. On the other hand, Will Rahmer's vocals are terrible. He uses too much distortion. I like gnarly death metal vocals, but that manipulated rumbling is pestering to my ears. It sounds like either a dog with a soar throat barking, or perhaps noise emitted by a constipated guy on the toilet. The vocals get repetitive, as does the entire album. There's more movie quotes than actual music!
The percussion isn't great, fast typical death drumming, programmed by Beujard. The best track is 6, Procreation, fast and deadly. But it's not even their own work, it's a Celtic Frost cover. The song runs four minutes, none of their other songs top two and a half. Track 7, Scum, is a Napalm Death cover, yet 6 is still the only I can tolerate. The remaining songs just blend into a steady aggravating rumble / gurgling sound. The problem with Mortician and some other brutal death bands are they just try to see who can be the heaviest, and it ends up sounding like cacophony. This album(considered by some as Mortician's best) sounds like pure shit, one of the worst I’ve ever heard.
In conclusion, keep a safe distance from this lame cd. It will make your ears gush out blood. There's a lot better death metal out there. If they cut the distortion and eliminated those stupid movie quotes(or at least kept it at one or two), the cd would've been a little better. Then again, it would only run about 15 minutes for ten tracks in their absence. What a better way than to fill the gap than with some cheesy psycho movie clips. Procreation is the only good song, but it's a cover.... Anyway there's not much more to say about their music, since there's very little of it, and it's mostly undistinguishable. So, if you encounter House By The Cemetery while shopping, don't be fooled by its attractive cover, just keep moving along.
A lot of people seem to have major conflicts with Mortician but I think they are one of the more "fun" death metal bands on the market today. Sure, the lyrics are cobbled together with various well known horror movie images and the the riffs don't shiver with that gothenburger melodic shine but the band is an example of pure "crunch and burn" death metal the "way it once was".
The chunky riffs and horror movie lyrics fit a traditional death metal mold with simple, yet stunningly aggressive riffs creating the chaos around it. I personally love my death metal such as Nunslaughter and Flesheater so this fits perfectly in-between bands like this on my collection. This CD is heavy, armed with one of the most viscous voices in death metal and fun as watching a good 80's Slasher flick.
Pick it up...
Mortician is a band that you either love or hate, and as for me, I pretty much hate them, but this EP isn't all that bad. It actually has some death metal influence in it, although you may not be able to tell with all the chaos going on around you.
The horror movie clips are pretty enjoyable, and I do find that the guitars are somewhat decent on this. The drum machine though, that has to be stopped. It is so awful sounding that it could wake someone from the grave, or is that their intention?
Driller Killer is an alright song, as is House By The Cemetary, and maybe one or two more, but since they mostly sound the same, I can't remember what they are. The song lengths also don't do much to help them out, as they are usually a minute or less, sometimes about 2 minutes, but you'd never know, seeing as how it all seems to flow together (in a bad way of course).
Overall if you like Mortician, just get this and be done. Their full lengths are just too.... long and boring! My mind wanders off at about track 10 on their full lengths, especially on Domain of Death, which I feel is the epitome of suckiness. Ahh, the horror indeed.