Fast Rites: because sometimes brevity is fundamental.
Even using the most expansive definition, death metal is still not even 40 years old. And yet, on Preserved in Torment, Mortiferum plays the kind of death metal that sounds as ancient and uncaringly venomous as the grinding ages of geologic time. This is death metal that belches forth in slow-moving carpets of lava undergirded by the loose igneous boulders of the bass guitar. The riffs are nimble but resinous, like sluices of hot grease heaved over a decrepit battlement, and the drumming revels in punctuating every assault with a restraint that cracks only for precisely calculated fills and ride cymbal abuse like a slow-motion Slayer.
Preserved in Torment is the kind of death metal that sounds like it wormed osmotic tendrils into the mixing board when Onward to Golgotha and Mental Funeral were being recorded, but it doesn’t feel derivative. “Seraphic Extinction” opens with a languid death/doom motif that could have whispered in the ear of the earliest Unholy or Anathema recordings, but eventually expands outward into the reluctantly melodic antagonism of Abhorrence or Rippikoulu.
After the grotesquely excellent Altar of Decay demo, Mortiferum’s first album left this particular knucklehead a little cold. Preserved in Torment rights the ship with gruesome conviction, though, with alternately pummeling and suffocating riffs that allow for tiny slivers of surprisingly lovely leads to surface. If death metal can channel both the primordial ooze of creation and the eventual heat death of the universe, whatever time you find yourself in is the right time to get correct with Mortiferum.