Mortuous – Through Wilderness Review

Let’s talk about putridity, friend. More specifically, whether or not you enjoy putridity enough to celebrate it in your life. You may think you do, considering the fact that you once managed to sit through all of Cannibal Holocaust without gagging, or because you didn’t have to turn your head when the dog ate the barf that it so elegantly hurled onto the kitchen floor after eating four pounds of garbage, but do you embrace it. Did you once hope and pray that you’d eventually open a pack of Garbage Pail Kids cards and see a mangled version of your name represented? Did you beg for the Masters of the Universe Slime Pit? Queasy Bake Cookerator? Do you eat pudding with your hands? Enjoy asparagus simply because of the pee smell? Nap on compost piles? DO YOU LIKE EGGPLANT??

If yes, then Mortuous is probably for you. Sure, it would likely help if you have an invincible fondness for death metal, too, but that honestly might not be set in stone.

Release date: June 22, 2018. Label: Tankcrimes and Carbonized Records.
First off, let’s take a look at that fitting album cover excreted with rotten care by Marald van Haasteren. You probably didn’t catch the giant maze in the backdrop at first glance, but there it is, crisping under a wide, parched sky. That damnable labyrinth was one of the last things you laid eyes on after somehow managing to make it to that hillside. You allowed yourself to believe you’d found your freedom, but alas, nothing but barren earth pounded into an interminable maze as far as the eye can see. So, you gave up. You were spent, so you gave up and leaned back on the rotten bough of a rotten tree to mull over your rotten luck. Then, BOOM—beheaded by your captors. Tough luck, kid. The good news: it’s obviously a fantasy world, so maybe your stupid head fell to your feet at the behest of someone wielding the Glaive from Krull. It’s the small victories that make life wonderful. Following that, your lame body fails quickly, because the land craves moisture, and nature is incapable of subtlety. Your crumbling flesh and wet giblets get pulled wide like a beef shroud, and your moldering corpse soon becomes a part of the landscape. Congratulations.

That’s Through Wilderness in a picture: brownish green mortal decay that ends a trivial life with zero commemoration. Glorious putridity.

Fortunately for all the Grody Garys and Rank Ruths out there, the carpet matches the drapes, where the carpet happens to represent the revolting music delivered by these four shambling mounds from the Decay Area of California. This is putrified death metal that sprays a defensive fungus on the concept of evolution, and the only “atmospheric” element as it relates to the modern age of “atmospheric death metal” is the variety that gradually dooms the listener and turns them inside-out like some sort of nightmarish Treehouse of Horror fog.

These riffs are loathsome, whether they’re fast or slow, which is something that happens in essentially every song. Take the early hitting “Bitterness,” for example. The cut clumps from the gate slow-to-mid-paced and with a notably rank breath, and then a positively vulgar riff break-out around 1:23 tosses the listener into a bitter lime pit with spastic, worm-wriggling leads and a grinding fury that could make Ultimo Mondo Cannibale blush.

That’s the general m.o. here: hit ‘em slow for just long enough to make them think the quicksand will be their ultimate doom, then broadside their fat coconut with a sudden burst of cavemanic speed to spice up the termination. Even a wickedly morose, doomy cut like “Crysalis of Sorrow” eventually guts the blanketing sluggishness with velocity inside its closing minute. Flip-flop said events for a song like “Prisoner Unto Past” when you want to kill a pal quickly and with fury from the gate, then you can submissively beg for clemency once that slow & sorrowful midpoint hits.

These vocals are gross—like a hulking, misshapen antagonist from the great deep belching out recipes for humans while worrying over wobbling cysts. So, you know, guttural snarling that’s lowwwww and strangely conversational, and apparently vile enough that the simple act of performing them in the studio conceivably conjures members of Autopsy out of thin air. That’s great news, because all this rottenness results in sneak attacks from Chris Reifert on “The Dead Yet Dream” and “Anguish and Insanity,” with the additional bonus of a wriggling Danny Coralles lead on the former.

Those waggling leads are often the star of the show, and they are plentiful and help give Through Wilderness just enough of a pleasant, melodic edge to fool the listener into believing that they’re enjoying the cannibal’s cauldron. Hey, one person’s human ghoulash is another person’s hot tub, no? Ooo, a carrot! …. In the hot tub… With me?

Mortuous isn’t the sort of band suited for someone who’s interested in evidence of death metal’s growth, unless that growth happens to be carbuncle-related and protruding from the brain after listening to Mental Funeral, Dawn of Possession and Disgrace’s Grey Misery for too many years. This is rotting death metal done by rotters who understand how important it is to have rotten things in your life.

And the putridity shall set you free.

Posted by Captain

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; Handsome & Interesting Man; Just get evil all the time.

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