Mortiferum – Disgorged From Psychotic Depths (2019) REVIEW

It snaps meekly from within, a minuscule burst in the core of this great cauldron of failing meat you’d call a body. An obscured signal of thy corporeal collapse by way of mold-infested imperator. No pain but a persistent draining sensation in the stomach, a twitching hand set atop a churning of the basal lungs; That light-headed wave of dysphoric sinking is the cellophane of the coming corpse-like state dissolved, a fascia eroded by this undissected bane. Death is only a distant murmur and never a loud ringing of the ears, they’ll fail long before these placeholders of rotten decay are abundant enough to take down the former beast. Who’d panic when the pangs of infection leave the breath sickly hot and sweet with the reaches of the tongue foaming the throat is too late, swaying under the pendulous beating of the heart on the edge of septicemic failure. The mind and the body sever as the eyes flutter in horror, staring down at the black and red vomit they blink into their burning wetness. The first plague of many rends its first deflated pustule, a wroth to endure, deeply ‘Disgorged From Psychotic Depths’ by the eight-handed, eight-eyed Mortiferum beneath the moss and churning mud of Olympia, Washington. Therein tradition renders exacting forms with self-appointed action, a self-directed refinement necessitated by taste and tribulation– A lasting tomb under the wing of those who’d tend the garden sempiternum.

You are witnessing the future of death/doom metal but not in the sense of innovation, rather the young men in Mortiferum resolidify the aged concrete alliance of forms old and fidelity new. The union of evil doom metal riff with the coffin-blasted darkness of far north (from here) death metal bellows within rebuilds and expands the rocky dread of underground North American death/doom metal history these last thirty years; From Eternal Darkness and Cianide to Rippikoulu and Ceremonium the deepest woes of creation’s past are alight in the guttural darkness of ‘Disgorged From Psychotic Depths’, a debut even more dryly rotten than the band’s ‘Altar of Decay’ (2017) demo had suggested. I’d had my Gorement comparison ready to fire at that point but the similarities are yet vague beyond the actual depth of the recording, and I’d say a modern band like Spectral Voice or Krypts (on ‘Remnants of Expansion’) would offer preferential and more meaningful comparative fields. So many modern ‘old school’ death metal bands wear the old sounds as armor to shield themselves from lacking ideas but Mortiferum wear only the rotten rags of the old dead, to fend off the untrue ghast with the feral stench of the undead… That is to say that ‘Disgorged From Psychotic Depths’ is bristling with movements that stew and release naturally, as if guided by the ghosts of the past.

‘Disgorged from Psychotic Depths’ is undoubtedly the most authentic ‘old school’ death/doom metal release in recent memory and for some frail, misguided ghouls this will be a reality to a fault. Nearby Portland, Oregon band Ossuarium found some glistening ‘modernity’ in their post-demo sound to shirk off the grave mold that comes with auld revisionism by comparison, whereas Mortiferum appear to have risen directly from the graveyard of death/doom’s creation and they thrive so massively across this 37 minutes of mid-to-slow paced death-lunging because of that genuinely earthen stench. So, if you’re not in line with the greatest underground nukes felt within the late 80’s and 90’s of death/doom metal, all is lost? No, in fact the righteous extraneous value that a band like this offers is a gateway to the land of the dead old ways; Looking beyond the past, Mortiferum are yet a several generations removed revivification of stone-shattering death music so, one can reasonably expect a refinement (not a recreation) of the primitive slow-motion dirges from Scandinavia and the coastal United States in the early 90’s.

“Putrid Ascension” must’ve been sung through the throat of a cadaver, though I’m unsure which of the two vocalists kicks off the track, the gut-deep bellow therein is not just an artistic detail but a tumescent presence that edges Mortiferum‘s sound beyond plain comparison. It might actually be -the- ‘The Ending Quest’ moment I was looking for as a fan, also. The grotesque hulk of “Funereal Hallucinations” after it combines these two highlight tracks into an exemplar fifteen minute ‘core’ within the full listen that expands upon the parameters set by ‘Altar of Decay’ without reusing any of those key riff ideas too closely. The morbid shrike of Finnish death-doom metal is felt but not with such force that it’d all amount to a ‘retro’ rehabilitation of forms. Although Mortiferum set sail a short while earlier, nearby death/doom metal bands Foul and Cavurn each have this same sort of impending momentum on their masts, adding to the argument that our Pacific Northwest is rich with some of the most redeeming and authentic death/doom metal being released today.– ‘Disgorged From Psychotic Depths’ ensures that this anomaly of putrefaction is cemented into the minds of modern day fellows discovering and documenting such a tasteful wealth of pure death/doom expression. Dominance, in a word.

Slickly conceived between staff from Oakland, Portland, England and featuring intensely evocative artwork from guitarist C. Slaker (Caustic Wound, ex-Bone Sickness) the whole package is appropriate for the here-and-now because it so effortlessly falls into line with the most sustainable classics of death/doom metal. That isn’t to say that Mortiferum are appropriately evocative of current trends in ‘old school’ death metal but that the expanding minds of todays death metal collector and ritual attendee will see the value and depth of this recording immediately. Where then, does the band leave their extra-special mark upon the sub-genre? So far it all lies in the riffs, the sound, and the exemplar nature of their craft. This all adds up to such high quality that a ‘gimmick’ or extraneous indication of personality would be overkill as an introduction to a fine young band. ‘Disgorged From Psychotic Depths’ is among the more perfectly considered debut releases within a very crowded year for death metal and it will without a doubt be remembered as one of the best in death/doom metal circa 2019. Very high recommendation. For preview purposes I’d suggest “Putrid Ascension” is where I saw the most direct expansion of the demo tape’s promises and “Funereal Hallucinations” compliments it unto a glorious height.

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Artist Mortiferum
Type Album
Released October 11, 2019
BUY & LISTEN on Profound Lore Records’ Bandcamp! Mortiferum on Metal-Archives
Genre Death/Doom Metal

Aghast graves, as cracked open mouths. 4.75/5.0

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