It’s probably for the best if we address the elephant in the room right away so we can get to the true business of the matter.
That’s some butthole.
Maybe that sentence should have ended with a question mark.
If that’s a view from the inside looking out, the world we’re about to be birthed into doesn’t really seem much more inviting compared to where we currently…reside. And if it’s from the outside looking in… Well, someone’s got a very grey looking world and an understandably miserable person living on Velvet Pickle Ln.
Yes, interpreting the artwork in such a way is the sign of a butthole with a juvenile mindset, because doing so implies something negative, but that’s actually not the intention. The cover is good—done by Mortiferum guitarist Chase Slaker—and it suits the, um, cavernous and hopeless feel of the record. It just so happens to land during a particular point on Earth’s timeline where human beings seem weirdly obsessed with all things butthole. We elect them, we date them, we marry them, and we complain about them to absolutely no end on social media. Public figures now openly discuss various methods of, ahem, consuming them, and even Earth itself wants us to know that one of its many beef gaskets remains disturbingly active.
And it ain’t just Mortiferum that’s (possibly) inadvertently chosen a sphinctacular album cover in 2019. A slip through a list of current releases reveals not-so-secret b-holes from black metal (the always popular “cosmic” variation), doom (the “hey, everyone, hop on in!” interpretation), other death metal acts (Fetid’s desperate plea for a dinner salad), and even post-punk (no shame in that secret starport). And that’s really just, uh, scratching the surface. Why, even the New York Times Crossword seems to have recently fallen victim to the mesmeric power of the hidden eye.
You might very reasonably state: “My dude, these are just circles. And in this particular case, a slightly elongated circle.” Yes, yes, of course you’re correct. This isn’t some sort of porthole conspiracy theory resulting from decades of butt trumpet howdy-doos from distant aliens that have long-since resulted in humans being subconsciously haunted by our buddy behind us. However, what is the circle but the orifice of shapes?? And perhaps more importantly, what on earth is wrong with that. Put briefly: what’s hiding in (some of) our briefs is on the minds of many, even if subconsciously. Sometimes it’s best not to probe any deeper for motives beyond the simple confirmation that buttholes are literally everywhere, and sometimes they’re loud, proud and in your face.
The opening “Archaic Vision of Despair” paints an ideal picture of the full story. Things start off with approximately 30 seconds of dark grinding that could be mistaken for a lost Streetcleaner b-side, but it quickly gives way to a perfectly rotten stretch of death doom that drips onto your head like digestive enzymes draining off the gruesome choppers of a terrifically huge Robert E. Howard spider. By the 3-minute mark, the song is finally running. And by running, I mean stumble-hustling like a bent monstrosity that’s just smelled your blood. A grim gurgle eventually ushers the funereal pace back into the picture, and then BOOM—the song suddenly bolts from the room like an escaped victim with a pair of scissors buried between their shoulder blades, followed by a perfectly grisly (and surprisingly fun) lead that helps carry the song to its end.
Alex Mody (also of the exceedingly punishing Ēōs) drums for this outfit, and he’s clearly one of Mortiferum’s most potent ingredients. As is known by most who are delirious for all things death doom, playing drums slowly might technically be easier, but it’s actually quite challenging to do so with the sort of panache necessary to keep people pinned to the speakers. Similar to slow hitters such as Dino Sommese (ex-Asunder), Becky Hawk (ex-Laudanum), Cornelius Althammer (Ahab) and of course Chris Reifert, Mody recognizes the significance of sluggish pizzazz, and he adds umpteen layers of damaging heft, whether the pace on Disgorged from Psychotic Depths is creeping or racing. Listen to the way he shifts from slogging to scooting in “Funereal Hallucinations,” a song that’s closest to resembling Ahab before they decided to ditch 90% of the spooky following their debut.
The rest of what’s offered follows a similar design of slow to slower to fast to slower to faster to GREAT CHRIST, WHY IS THE PUDDING MOVING BLEEEARRRRGGGH MY FACE IS MELTING, but with different urgencies placed on each element. “Inhuman Effigy” (great title) kicks off with the most violent strike, showcases the band’s penchant for macabre melody, and gives them a chance to demonstrate what could very well be the year’s most revolting bass tone. And the decayed galumph of “Putrid Ascension” is dilapidated enough to give the creature on the cover of Mental Funeral a stimulus package for a solid week.
Zero setbacks, really, provided you’re the sort who attributes “prettiness” to vibrant shades of mold while chained and rotting in a forgotten crypt somewhere. Why, there’s even a pretty little Andy LaRocque acoustic flare (“Anamnesis”) before “Faceless Apparition” slowly pounds the final nail in your coffin with 7 minutes of dirging agony.
There’s no shortage of high quality, grubby death metal releases coming down the chute in 2019—albums from Krypts, Carcinoid and Carnal Tomb, just to name a few—and while Mortiferum’s brand is equally greasy, it’s most relevant to those who prefer the style steeped in the sort of crawling doom that damn-near hits funereal at times. There’s still enough brutality to keep it pinned to the classic death / doom of yesteryear, mind you, but it’s less avant-garde than Unholy, less trippy than disembowelment, less grinding than Sorrow (US), and not nearly as gothic as Funeral (NOR). It’s… Essentially its own thing, which is unique considering 3/4s of 2019 is already behind us.
If the band’s stellar Altar of Decay demo already got your skivvies in a twist back in 2017, you’ll find even more to love with Disgorged from Psychotic Depths. And if you haven’t yet had the pleasure and find your interest piqued, get ready to get kicked square in the glute, my friend.