Mordbrand - Imago
This is the debut full-length release by Sweden’s Mordbrand, but this is by no means their first time to the dance. The members of this band have been part of the Swedish Death Metal scene for quite some time. They’ve been active as a band since 2006 and have released a number of demo recordings, EPs and splits since their inception. When describing their sound, I found myself using a lot of adjectives that I used to use when talking about the early giants of Swedish Death Metal, namely Entombed, Carnage, Dismember and Unleashed. This comes as no surprise because Mordbrand is very much like those bands, sporting a sound that harkens back to the old Stockholm scene. The guitars have that nice, thick distortion that I remember from Left Hand Path, and also that underlying sense of melody that characterized those classic Swedish Death Metal albums. Imago isn’t a rehash of those LPs, though. It’s more of a refresher course in what Old School Swedish Death Metal used to sound like - and by extension, why we used to think it was so awesome. In a world where Death Metal is defined by hyper-technical riffing and unintelligible guttural vocals, it’s nice to hear a band that can kick your ass all over the place, play punishing Death Metal but still have things like understandable vocals (brutal but you can understand most of what is said) and melodic hooks that keep you interested. Is it the perfect LP? It’s pretty close. It isn’t groundbreakingly original, mostly because you naturally reference Dismember, Carnage, Entombed and Unleashed when describing Mordbrand. That isn’t a bad thing in this case, though. None of those bands are playing this style of music anymore (not even Entombed A.D., though they’re closer to it than they’ve been in ages) so I think of this more as a throwback to the early days of Swedish Death Metal, capturing the basic essence of the scene and taking it into the modern era. It’s also guaranteed to make your chiropractor rich (or in my case, richer).
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