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Mortuary - The Autophagous Reign - 94%

Edmund Sackbauer, November 8th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2019, CD, XenoKorp (Limited edition, Digipak)

I have counted 29 bands on MA being named Mortuary – some of them not active anymore but still quite an impressive number going by this moniker. Maybe the most prominent one is this outfit hailing from Nancy who got a lot of positive feedback for their 2016 release “Nothingless than Nothingness”. Their take on traditional death metal with some thrash metal patterns thrown in for good measure is highly explosive and addictive. Their newest album “The Autophagous Reign” is a professionally performed and recorded piece of slamming and aggressive music.

The basic elements that can be found here are mainly taken from some of the US stars like Malevolent Creation or Monstrosity. The pummeling drums are hitting the listener in full-attack mode while the riffing is switching between fast and straight forward parts to a bit slower and stoic sections. The slowed-down parts often have a hypnotic vibe dragging the listener even more into the music. There are some moments where the tempo is completely taken out and after a short break or some chugging chords the heavy attacks start again. Sometimes after those breaks the build-up begins from scratch before the speed and the intensity are ramped up more and more until the tempo limit is reached again.

The guitar work on this record is brilliant and to my unprofessional ears on par with all the big names. Short melodic interludes work as counterpart to the trademark chords and there are a few impressive and pretty complex solo sections to be found. That being said those are woven into the overall sound in a way to complement the variety of the music and not distract from the songs themselves. There are not too many really long and drawn-out solo sections although the skills of the musicians are obviously on a very high level. Instead of boring the consumer to tears with complicated breaks or too much wankery these melodic interludes are cleverly used as bridges between various parts of one song and often act as transition from faster and more aggressive sections to calmer and groovier parts.

There is a lot going on in most of the tracks but the guys from Mortuary took care to present a very stringent album with the different sections being cleverly placed within the record. Tempo and rhythm changes are used for keeping a certain level of diversity. The songs are cleverly constructed with the right balance of straight forward and steamrolling parts and some more sophisticated pieces lending each track its own character. Drummer Yohann has a great feeling for keeping things tight while adding a few technical outbursts for good measure. The guys also have a few surprises in their locker like e.g. some piano tones in the beginning of “Memorial in Vivo”.

They also have a fantastic singer among their ranks in Patrick Germonville who impresses with his brutal and powerful delivery. A few mid-range screams are complementing the otherwise growled lyrics and add extra intensity to the music. This man got some powerful pipes for sure

The sound of this record is thick and very crunchy. The mix is clear making all the brutal details perfectly audible. However, there is also enough grit and rawness to satisfy the old school crowd. “The Autophagous Reign” surely is not the most innovative record I have ever heard. A lot of the things going on here remind of other bands and records and fans of the genre will feel right at home. However, this is a fantastic slab of groovy and devastating death/thrash metal that is a lot of fun to listen to and in my personal opinion one of the genre’s highlights of 2019.