" album is considered something of a pioneering album in the realm of Christian death metal, the fact is the music is better described as thrash with death-like vocals. That
said, the thrash isn't bad at all.
First off: the negatives. The production of the album is more than a bit suspect. As far as I know, this was the production debut of Roger Martinez, the driving force behind Vengeance Rising
. The drums are snare-heavy with a bass drum that sounds a bit like beaters hitting an empty five-gallon plastic pail. And
were it not for the bridges in BRUTAL WARFARE and the intro to Break the Curse
, one might wonder whether or not Steve Rowe played bass on the album at all. Finally, for the most part the soloing on the album is ho-hum. Un-melodic shredding seems to be the staple. (That
said, Michael has never seemed to assume the role of solo guitarist and, in fact, was replaced by a session soloist on much of the album. I sometimes wonder if the omission of any solos would have been the better route?)
Now...the positives. Without question, "Mortification
" is one of Mortification
's best written works. I am convinced that the reason for this is the involvement of all three of its original members - Steve Rowe (bass), Michael Carlisle (guitar) and Jayson Sherlock (drums) - in the writing process. The tremela riffs on UNTIL THE END
grab your ear right from the get-go and Jayson's triplet upbeats (a staple throughout the album) establish a solid thrash beat. Steve's vocals are solid mid-range death growls with some decent holds. BRUTAL WARFARE showcases the band's intensity, offering only two "breaks" in the form of Steve plucking away at his bass by his lonesome. SATAN'S DOOM and NEW AWAKENING abound in classic, ear-catching thrash riffs. All that said, the "crowning jewel" of the "Mortification
" album, in my opinion, is JOURNEY OF RECONCILIATION. The writing credits are attributed to drummer Jayson Sherlock, who would later be a founding member of the now-defunct Paramaecium
and the active project InExordium
. The song is a great blend of slower doom/death verse riffs with speed thrown in for the choruses. Because the song is about the immolation of Christ and his undergoing such treatment for the good of humanity, the musical mood seems to fit the lyrical content to a tee. The final refrain of "He rose from the grave! He rose from the dead!" seems a perfect cap to it all.
All in all, the album is worth hunting down. My own metal collection contains Christian and secular bands. I tend to lean in the direction of the secular. If my house were burning and I had the opportunity to save a select nember of my discs, I'd grab this one immediately after saving my Bolt Thrower