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Mass Burial - Of Carrion And Pestilence - 80%

Tomecki666, January 1st, 2018
Written based on this version: 2012, CD, Wydawnictwo Muzyczne Psycho

Spain is probably the last place that I would think of when comes to old school death metal, and yet here we have Mass Burial that hails from Burgos, Spain, and have been planning their “Of Carrion And Pestilence” since 2002. It took a decade to get a release out but it could not possibly be any better. It reeks of cemeteries, tomb desecrators, zombies, murderous thoughts and perverted serial killers just like any old school death should.

Musically very simple maybe even primitive at times yet full of twists, turns and stuffed with solos, headbanging-friendly riffage and some eerie, evil sounding melodies. They conduct their attack with a sound similar to what Sunlight Studio was doing around 1990 and I couldn’t agree more with their choice. It gives the whole album the right vibe and sets the listener up on the right track. Mass Burial plow through 11 songs with pounding of a rhythm section enhanced with fat bass and chaotic drumming, sandy and rusty guitar sound and vocals that are so guttural and throaty that I needed to soothe my throat with some honey just from listening to Raul. It all sounds so freakishly old school that it seems that those boys found a way to go back in time to record this album. Could that be a reason why it took so long??

Eleven pieces of old school death metal that will take you back to times of Entombed, Dismember or Autopsy first demo tapes. Don’t believe me? Just check out 4th song titled ‘Mass Burial’ and tell me that it doesn’t remind you of certain Swedish band that starts with E. Fortunately, those Spaniards have enough ideas to put their own stamp on things, and songs like ‘Post War Psychosis’,’ Intense Genital Punishment’,’ Deathlike Dream’ to name a few are intense, original ass kickers that burst with amazing riffs, leads and atmosphere.

“Of Carrion And Pestilence” spun in my player for a long time and gave me plenty of enjoyment. Good album for anybody with affection towards metal that everybody was banging their heads to in early 90’s, and I also think a good one to reminisce what was it all about. Tear.

(Originally written for www.metalbite.com)

Rotten and eerie death metal of the yore - 73%

Lane, August 16th, 2012

Grave, Bolt Thrower and Carcass. Fine bands in every way. Mass Burial, these old school lovers, are doing a nice mixture of those aforementioned legends. Mass Burial hail from Burgos, Spain, and have been active since 2002. Now, a decade later they finally get a release out, and it is in the form of a debut full length album. Its mighty title 'Of Carrion and Pestilence' is perfect for it.

Mass Burial's music isn't original, that's true, but they haven't gone plundering all too much. While the music here generally consists of familiar elements, Spaniards have been able to hit their own stamps here and there. However, the guitars are highly inspired by Stockholm death metal sound; dirty, heavy, downtuned. The lead guitar (both melodies and solos) is quite reverbed, to give that other-worldly, evil feel to it. The drums are thundering with some reverb, and the bass guitar is pounding somewhere in there. Apart from Stockholm death metal, there are echoes of Carcass and Bolt Thrower, which give a nice tint to Mass Burial. The album, and even sole songs, balance between chaotic aggressiveness and eerie disturbance, so the songs definitely do not drag on. Thankfully Mass Burial know how the craft some tasty riffage as well as melodies.

The sound is more on the trebly side. It might have been a must, if they wanted some clarity in the sound. While the rhythm section is pounding, the guitars are rusty as hell, or clean as a djinn's shrieking. The guttural/throaty growled vocals are also reverbed. The drumming is a tad lagging at times, but it just raises the chaotic vibe this recording emits. Lyric-wise this is about all kinds of aggressive and perverted behavior, from serial killers to tomb desecrators, and from suicide to torturing. Plus radiation, zombies, and generally, death. The covers remind of old fanzines to some point, which perfectly suits here.

If old Entombed and such Swedes, Carcass and Bolt Thrower mean something to you, as they should, then Mass Burial's debut album 'Of Carrion and Pestilence' is a good pick, if not on the level of the classics from death metal and grindcore genres. But that's how it simply goes in 99% of the cases anyway.

(originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com)

Again to the well of death - 60%

autothrall, April 6th, 2012

It's getting to the point at which so many bands are representing the cult Swedish sound of the late 80s/early 90s that it's becoming nigh on tedious to wade through all their guts and bones, but here we've got a Spanish act, Mass Burial who after a decade of planning have decided to do just that. Granted, they've got a more primitive edge to their compositions than a lot of other bands waxing nostalgic over Left Hand Path, Clandestine, Into the Grave, Dark Recollections, Like an Ever Flowing Stream and so forth, but I couldn't help but feel that the dark, oppressive atmosphere created on this debut was a fraction better handled than the songwriting itself. Then again, if you're a fan of such simplistic aesthetics in your old school brutality, I can't imagine how this would put you off.

The massive, internal organ rupturing Sunlight style guitar tones are puked out through a slew of relatively average, familiar chord progressions built upon the same punk thrust that characterized old Entombed. Faster, driving pieces like "Intense Genital Punishment" and the oft blasting "Virulent Infestation" are measured off against doomed, grooving sequences like the intro to their namesake "Mass Burial" or the leaden chug of "Deathlike Dream". They're good at coming up with exciting (if not incredibly memorable) leads and sad melodies that give you that sepulchral feeling of the older Swedish records, and the atmosphere created by Raúl Puente's vocals is a garbled, gravesoil-stuffed hybrid of L-G Petrov, Matt Karki and Autopsy's Chris Reifert that seems suitably crude for the riffing beneath it. The bass is swollen and contributes to the aural depth of the aggression, though it's never really something that stands out next to the distorted molasses of the guitar tone or the resonance of the vocals.

I certainly don't mind this style. Despite its obvious level of saturation in the European scene (and beyond), there are still plenty of bands doing it justice with their own interpretations of the classics. Of Carrion and Pestilence is sadly not one of those sorts of records. It nails the tone and the atmosphere of the albums that influenced it, but lacks the haunted and hypnotic notation or the perfect punctuation of the ghastly vocals so requisite to warrant numerous re-visitations. Despite the dynamics present in the songs, and the contrast of the leads to the muddy timbre of the rhythm guitars, the whole of the experience seems to run together, the only distinctions the few deviations used, like the raunchy, cleaner guitar and spoken vocals in the title track. If you are hopelessly smitten with this style, and a massive fan of the primacy in Cianide, Carnage Autopsy, Nihilist and early Grave, or newer bands like Funerus or Mr. Death, then have at it, just don't expect a lot of its hooks to sink into your flesh.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com