Mass Burial – Breeding Plagues (2017) REVIEW

Spain’s Mass Burial have been one of my favorite bands that sport the well-worn buzzsaw Sunlight Studios guitar tone while paying tribute to the classic Swedish death metal sound of Entombed, Dismember, and Carnage. Mass Burial have always leaned more towards the Dismember/Carnage spectrum of riffing, much like Italian band Horrid, where they incorporate a slight amount of d-beat and occasionally use tremolo picked melody for effect. ‘Breeding Plagues’ is the band’s third full-length despite being active for over 13 years and it appears they’ve finally produced an ambitious and varied record. The last album that really checked all the right boxes in this style was probably Entrails‘ ‘Obliteration’ from a couple years ago. The guitarists still rely on the chuggy derivative guitar sound for heaviness but they’ve incorporated a lot more melody and variation and taken some extra care with the playlist order.

‘Breeding Plagues’ is fashioned much like ‘Like an Ever Flowing Stream…’ in that the songs flow together but make distinct statements. I would almost argue that the compositions here are more dynamic and aren’t simple rehashes of retro death metal. Songs like “Age of Blasphemy” and “I Must Remain Awake” show longer and more complex arrangements than I’ve heard from the band previous. While I will applaud the band for greater ambition and completely pulling it off I will argue that a lot of the nuance is lost in the silly old school guitar tone. Instead of giving the band intended ‘personality’ ends up blurring their changing sound and coming across like yet another record in this style. It’s a shame they don’t aim for a tone closer to Necrophobic‘s ‘The Nocturnal Silence’ because that little bit of extra clarity would make for a world class record.

If you’re new to the band or just thought the last two were flat and boring this is the album in their discography to jump into. If you want something more crusty and brutal like Maim, then try ‘Of Carrion and Pestilence’. If you want something closer to Entombed‘s ‘Clandestine’ then try ‘Soul’s Necrosis’. While it should speak volumes that I can’t talk about this band without referencing others it is still a nice replacement for Dismember, who have been missing from action for over a decade, and makes up for all of the boring records Centinex and related acts have been crapping out since. This absolutely belonged on my 2017 list but I figured that while this is more dynamic I generally enjoyed Under the Church more and didn’t have enough time with this before drafting the list. Essential stuff for Swedish style death metal fanatics and probably nobody else.


Artist Mass Burial
Type Album
Released November 25, 2017
BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp! Follow Mass Burial on Facebook

Tormented with evil prayers . 3.5/5.0



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