Originally written for metalbase.in/metalspree
Never judge a book by its cover. Pre-split Mortal Decay were one of the most fascinating bands doing the rounds of the brutal death metal scene around the turn of the century. While superficially meeting all genre tropes, the band distinguished themselves from their fellow Unique Leader spawn by developing a tastefully technical approach to the style, emphasizing atmosphere over brutish muscle. Sickening Erotic Fanaticism and Forensic hold up to this day as examples of what this type of music can be in able hands; vile, depraved, a latent groan of sadism and misery from some boiler room that city plans forgot all about.
The Blueprint For Blood Splatter is the band’s return after eight years of inactivity and while it boasts a slightly updated and busier sound, the ear for twisted melody and left-of-centre dynamics remains. The bass guitar, ever an important part in Mortal Decay‘s setup, acquits itself admirably, maintaining a weaving, pulsing presence – often mounting squirming solo excursions – beneath an overarching structure of ever-evolving rhythm guitars. Much like Deeds Of Flesh in how they expunge a central motif for a more improvised feel, Mortal Decay excel at walking a musical path with next to no recursion. The riffs constantly mutate into variations from preceding patterns yet maintain an identifiable relationship with their immediate ancestors. Adept at working surreal sections (‘Chloroform Induced Trance’) into the general battering, the band offer a concise, confident vision substantiated with utmost fluency and tact.
The production is modern, perhaps a touch dry, failing to reproduce the oppressively dark feel of the first two full-lengths. But other Mortal Decay hallmarks – technical but never overbearing playing and just solid death metal song-writing – are present in good abundance. Mortal Decay have always stood out on whatever brutal death label they’ve been associated with; never out of place but certainly of a spirit resounding more firmly with the early 90s, before showmanship came to usurp traditional craft. Malignancy’s Danny Nelson lends his vocals to this record, interspersing screeching highs with his usual bellows, sometimes sounding like a cross between George Fisher and Ross Dolan. Quite the coincidence then because I have often likened Mortal Decay to a brutal death version of Immolation. It’s good to have them back.