There’ll be no dancing around the fact that eastern Ukrainian classicist late 80’s styled thrash metal quartet Mortal Vision‘s debut full-length album ‘Mind Manipulation‘ sounds like Sepultura‘s ‘Beneath the Remains’ but that isn’t all there is to glean from the experience. The first riff on title track/opener “Mind Manipulation” kicks in with an ‘Age of Quarrel’-esque pit-warmer before they straight launch into an attack that appears to gun for the infamous Brazilian band’s peaking refinement of their Mark II aggression circa 1989 — The thrill of nostalgic and the ol’ adrenaline pumped muscle memory within this moment is potent and inescapable as they proceed to hit several riffs dangerously close to note-for-note action throughout this roughly 35 minute album. That said, there wasn’t a moment in which I wasn’t on board with it and for two decidedly different reasons: First, there is no album I know better or have listened to more than ‘Beneath the Remains’. Second, going as far back as ’87 and well through 1993 there is great precedence for thrash and death/thrash metal records that sound exactly like this; In fact, I make a point of collecting ’em. So, this record rips, these guys’ve got riffs and their sound is surely referential to such a degree that pure thrash metal fandom can stop reading now and grab a copy — This one is a safe bet for the true. What about the ignorant masses? This’ll be a strong enough gateway into the hardest chunks of late 80’s thrash and the intertwining of early death/thrash metal hybrid forms for those in need of education.
‘Mind Manipulation’ is front-to-back loaded with leg-kicking and chest clenching thrash metal riffs, all of ’em delivered at similar pace with pure tunnel vision for the goal ahead which most often builds upon their suggested blending of ‘Beneath the Remains’ and ‘Persecution Mania’-era Sodom and to be sure, this is the album in a nutshell. Any further analysis or greater thesis on my part would, eh, will be overkill. Intending to discern value based on available performative nuance, authenticity of forms and compositional authorship will amount to referential name-dropping on my part and sure I’m not the least bit above it. The closest comparison to make up front is Slovakian death/thrashers Gladiator during their ‘Designation‘ (1992) and ‘Made of Pain‘ (1993)-era but you’ll have to note they were decidedly more raw and embellished by their nearby scene influences, had a bit more inventive bassist, and could hardly land half the guitar solos attempted on that first album. A good reference for tone and lineage of influence otherwise. Though you’ll find more choice Teutonic thrash metal severity on ‘Mind Manipulation’, alongside a more socio-political lyrical theme, rather than the blazing ‘Darkness Descends’ inspired cut of Devastation‘s ‘Signs of Life‘ the brevity and force of said album aligns with similar major goals (see: “Retribution”, “Tomorrow We Die”). We don’t quite get the full on ‘Extreme Aggression’ nodding riffs or gang-shouts of Overthrow‘s hardcorish 1990 death/thrasher ‘Within Suffering‘ but this is more or less the most solid reference we can get out of the that era without looking for straight-aped ‘Beneath the Remains’ transitions. If the growing argument in skull maintains that ‘Mind Manipulation’ is “one of those” then sure, those are great.
No groove metal riffs, no “too stoned to riff” death metal cuts, no 90’s hardcore chugs, no “blackened” parts, no post-metal filler kicks, no ethereal escapism, all that Mortal Vision intends and embodies on this debut is tank-blasted, riff obssessed thrash metal trench warfare. I’ve personally found the listening experience a serious tongue scraping of the built up trend-seeker spew that modern thrashers typically slap on top of the purity of aggressive thrash metal music. It isn’t innovative or original but man does it feel good to tear into this album and be pummeled by the good shit for a ~half hour. A moderately high recommendation.
|LABEL(S):||Redefining Darkness Records|
|RELEASE DATE:||October 29th, 2021|
|BUY & LISTEN:||Bandcamp|
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