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MORDBRAND: "Necropsychotic" - 50%

skaven, January 11th, 2013

September 2011 marks the release of at least two EPs in the vein of Swedish old school death metal through two relatively big underground labels, the first being the CD version of Cryptborn’s Into the Grasp of the Starving Dead via Dark Descent Records, and the other being Mordbrand’s Necropsychotic via Deathgasm. Unlike the former, Mordbrand actually hails from the land of this legendary sound, but it doesn’t show in the result: I’d say this loses by little to the recent Cryptborn attack.

Unlike many in this certain business, Mordbrand does not have a thick, buzzing guitar sound: this is a more regular, breathing death (and perhaps slightly black) metal tone. A good dose of solos are added on top of the crumbling riffs, backed by a lot of d-beats. Vocal delivery is in the very common style, meaning low-pitched growls, and tempo is kept at moderate levels. So now you know what the package of Necropsychotic offers, and if you’re not up for another ride in early 90s’ nostalgia, you should be reading a totally different review by now.

There’s a few spots in which the band does stand out a little, and it’s in the guitar work that every now and then features some distortionless, ominous pluckings, and the third track ”Skärseld (Return to the Unholy)” dares to flirt with melodic ideas quite unheard of in Swedish DM underground. ”The Wall of Flesh” and ”Deliverance” belong to this category as well, featuring a tad more melody than we are accustomed to hear.

In the end, I don’t however think these little variations make Necropsychotic an otherworldly record. Even if the songs tend to vary a bit more than, say, the ones on the recent Cryptborn, the atmosphere isn’t on the same level of filthiness. The production here sounds quite safe and warm (if so can be said of an underground death metal release...) that is pretty far from a reeking, putrid soundscape. A decent effort that unfortunately pales in comparison to many others in the field right now.

2.5 / 5
[ ]

Quite solid effort and cool to hear Boder again! - 70%

dismember_marcin, March 8th, 2012

The recent years have brought us quite a lot of surprising comebacks: of old styles, as well as the reunions of old bands and people, who were involved in the underground bands but were not active in metal music for years and who decided to form a new group – for many reasons, which I’m not going to comment, because what’s the point? Anyway, I can say that I liked some of those returns and this band, Mordbrand, is one of such surprises that unexpectedly came into being. This Swedish trio consists of Bjorn Larsson and Johan Rudberg, who were once members of death metal act Horned and later played together in some punk bands, I think, but I’m not sure if my info is correct. Anyway, those two are not the reason why I got interested in Mordbrand. It’s the third person involved in this project, who caught my attention. His name is Per Boder and I hope some of you remember him from one of the most legendary Swedish death metal troops called God Macabre / Macabre End? To see and hear this guy active again in new death metal band was a real surprise and a real pleasure… you know, it’s good to see that such people are still alive and sort of interested in this style of music and it doesn’t matter what Boder have been doing since the recording of “The Winterlong”, it’s just great to hear him again.

Well, I’ve actually heard about Mordbrand and Per Boder’s involvement in it for the first time, when I bought the EP of Bombs of Hades, band of Johan Stalhammar, another old member of God Macabre. Boder did the guest vocals in Carnage’s cover on this EP and I told myself: “well, this is great, he still knows how to growl!”. I’ve asked Jonas in the interview what’s Per up to and he wrote me that Boder is doing a new project called Mordbrand… and that’s how I discovered “Necropsychotic”. I bought the CD and well, I can tell you that I definitely do not regret spending the money on it, as this is really cool, yet another old styled death metal band.

Musically Mordbrand takes a lot of influence from the good, old Swedish death metal scene, Entombed first of all, mainly from their “Wolverine Blues” LP, Desultory (mainly “Swallow the Snake” CD) or Furbowl’s brand of death’n’roll plus they add some of punk style, plus there’s some hints of… I don’t know maybe “Soulless” era Grave maybe, but in less brutal way. Occasionally it also has some references to the likes of Master and maybe even Autopsy, but in much less obscure way and only in very few parts. And finally there’s quite big influence of death/doom here and there. The whole album is pretty much played in the mid paced tempo (although it also fastens in “Graveyard Revisited”), it’s never overly melodic, but also not too brutal or aggressive, it’s rather more concentrated on groovy riffing, with “Deliverance” taking a different path of doomy and slower death / doom, with the mentioned Autopsy reference, but also with some quite melodic guitar riffs - man, even Novembers Doom would probably enjoy some of them hehe! But this is interesting comparison as the same thing happens with “The Fall of Flesh”, this track really reminds me those Americans, as it’s sort of doomy and melodic and Per Boder’s vocals are sounding very close to Paul Kuhr! I like such tracks as “Eaters of the Void” and “Graveyard Revisited” most, they’re most aggressive and based on the classic Swedish style, but to be honest none of those six tracks fails and all of them have something cool to show, like “Skärseld (Return to the Unholy)” or “Deliverance”.

Anyway, despite the fact that “Necropsychotic” is not an effort, which would break my neck with maniacal, headbanging riffing and ultra violence and despite the fact that I like rough and obscure sounds more (like Repugnant, Maim, Morbus Chron, Bastard Priest or Bombs of Hades), I’ve enjoyed this EP a lot. It may not be anything exceptional and standing above the rest of the current wave of Swedish death metal, but it’s fairly solid and enjoyable throughout. And I can also say that I’ve heard some songs of Mordbrand from their split with Bombs of Hades and they’re getting better and better!

Branded insanely fun - 75%

autothrall, September 6th, 2011

As a newish death metal project hailing from Sweden, Mordbrand immediately brings to fruition the unshakable stereotype that haunts anyone emerging into such an inflated scene. However, while they certainly cull a few of the practiced characteristics of the genre, in particular a core of punk-driven d-beat death & roll, they manage to derail expectations through a superior songwriting ability. These guys have some roots playing 'fun' punk and thrash outfits (the musicians are from The Law), but joined with Swedish growling legend Per Boder of God Macabre, their material takes on a more dour and appreciably serious dimension. Variation and melodic sensibility ensure that the listener is getting into something more than the average barrage of Nihilist, Dismember and Entombed worship.

The face rocking begins immediately, as Mordbrand whip up a mystic, almost Arabesque into to "Eaters of the Void" that propels right into a riff that would have fans of Skitsystem, Trap Them, Rotten Sound and Entombed windmilling the shit out of their limbs. But quickly, before casting themselves fully to the predictable, they initiate dual melodies and a melancholic tinged bridge that deliver in spades, while Boder grumbles over the top of the bone pile like a mutant mortician. "Graveyard Revisited" opens with a huge groove before its own acceleration into melodic death-punk, and "The Fall of Flesh" rolls out a more clinical, melodic swagger. There is a not a song among these which fails to balance itself nicely, even the cutting and drying of the closer "Deliverance" upholds the standard of spring-loaded groove and versatility.

Necropsychotic even sound good, while eschewing the standard tone used on so many of these Swedish-style records for something with more purposeful rock clarity. Fans of Entombed's Wolverine Blues or Desultory's Swallow the Snake will be right at home here, though this is a more genuinely death-starved, sepulcher-crashing affair with old school death metal lyrics. It's never a bad thing that a band refreshes its influences without ripping them off, and this trio has done damn well to mix it up. These six tracks might not be the stuff of legend, but they're flexible and entertaining enough to anticipate what a full-length of similar quality might offer.