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Morbid > Last Supper... > Reviews > Noise Maniakk
Morbid - Last Supper...

Screw Pelle cultists, this is excellent - 89%

Noise Maniakk, April 2nd, 2024

I feel like I'm the only person on planet Earth who would rather pick this demo over "December Moon". Okay, I get the cult value, I get the nocturnal, almost spooky atmosphere of those older tunes, and I agree that Dead delivers what's perhaps his best performance ever on that very demo - but regardless, I've always felt more drawn to the frantic, messy, riff-heavy death/thrash sound of Morbid's later incarnation, when Pelle had already departed the band to blow his own brains out in Mayhem. Hate on me all you want, but I'm here to tell you that "Last Supper..." is indeed Morbid's best release - and to make myself even more loathed by y'all Pelle fanatics, I'm also going to say this demo doesn't sound any less dark and atmospheric than its predecessor, just in a completely different way at that.

These two demos sound pretty much like polar opposites of the same style - one being very trebly, melodic, spacious, occult-sounding and kinda "song-y" in its approach (almost as a foreshadowing of what Scandinavian black metal would later morph into, and similar to what even Attila Csihar's band Tormentor was doing with their well-known song "Elisabeth Bathory"), and the other sounding very muffled, bass-heavy, "un-catchy" and visibly more riff-centric than its predecessor, in the conventional "late-80's thrash" sense of the word. Well, as a riff-addicted old school deathrasher myself, it's no surprise I tend to gravitate more towards the latter of the two. "Last Supper..." contains indeed some of the best riffage Ulf Cederlund ever took part in composing (along with "Clandestine"'s more ambitious parts).

The sound is indeed extremely bassy and muffled, almost in an oppressive, claustrophobic kind of way. However, this goes perfectly hand in hand with the slightly more technical, pummeling riffage presented on this demo to generate a sense of uncomfortable, sinister uncanniness - moreso than "December Moon" was ever able to do with all its woeful melodies, soft arpeggios and raspy vocals. This is perfectly epitomized by opening track "Sickness of Humanity", which has always been my favorite Morbid song, representing a perfect storm of everything that could be done right with this formula: the twisted, fast-picked D-standard riffing, paired up with the obese lo-fi sound, manages to evoke such an incredible feeling of tension, dread, gloom, and, indeed, claustrophobia. A feeling that's only enhanced by the shouty, spastic, hardcore-laden vocals that were so typical of late-80's thrash bands all around the world: yeah, this guy is a far cry from Dead's chilling vocal antics, and I'll admit his delivery does sound a bit goofy at times (especially on the track "Beyond the Last Midnight") - but it's indeed the lunatic, slightly inconsistent, at times insecure nature of his delivery that enhances the latent uncanniness of these tunes, in a way that titillates the listener's imagination, almost suggesting something far more twisted and fucked up lurking beneath the surface, so heinous that the guy is even hesitating in telling you about it. I don't know if Dead's vocals would have suited the more concrete feeling of this demo: perhaps he would have sounded out of place, taking some of the uncanniness out of the equation, or perhaps his contribution would have brought the chilling vibe of these tracks to an even higher level. One sure has to wonder how such a horrific chorus as the one on "Terror!!" would have sounded like, if sung by Pelle.

While on the surface the riffing sounds way narrower in scope, compared to the far-and-wide melodic openness of "December Moon", this doesn't mean the band has lost its melodic touch: it does still appear, if only at strategic points, very well-dosed and delicately interwoven in the tissue of this far more technical riffage, to highlight the climax of a song, in a way that enhances the demo's sinister atmosphere - be it in a little spooky melodic lick (as done throughout the second half of "Sickness of Humanity") or a smooth yet still breath-taking solo (as done on "Terror!!"). The songs have now taken the more conventional route (for the time at least) of adventurous riff mazes, progressing slowly but surely in revealing their horrific nature in the "Hell Awaits" sense, instead of placing it right in front of you from the very start - and that's what makes the demo so fascinating in my opinion, whilst "December Moon" ends up sounding surely catchier and far more peculiar in its identity but ultimately less fulfilling for repeated listens. The final track on "Last Supper..." fades out with a reinterpretation of the James Bond theme that's so cleverly interwoven with the rest of the song you don't even catch it at first, mistaking it for some stock metal outro.

It's no wonder the band broke up after this demo: it was such a departure from the older Morbid sound most people knew, it sure must have been alienating even for the band members themselves. Dead has always been too much of a huge presence in any band he sung in to truly be replaceable (and that must have been the reason why Attila took such an unconventional, out-there, borderline-avantgarde vocal approach on "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" in order to fill Pelle's shoes). However, I'm still thankful to the Morbid guys for sticking to their guns one last time and leaving us with this small, underrated slab of lo-fi death/thrash that remains to this day, against all naysayers, my favorite output from this cult Swedish band.