Mortuous - Official Website - Interview

Upon Desolation

United States Country of Origin: United States

1. Carve
2. Nothing
3. Metamorphosis
4. Days Of Grey
5. Defiled By Fire
6. Burning Still...
7. Ash And Dismay
8. Graveyard Rain

Review by Michael on February 19, 2023.

With Upon Desolation the Californian deathers Mortuous released their second album in September 2022 and unfortunately the piece somehow passed me by until recently. Incomprehensibly, I must add, because what the four guys present here is pretty cavernous and raving death metal, as Finnish bands like Demilich or Demigod couldn't perform it better at the beginning of the 90s. In addition, there is a good pinch of old My Dying Bride (until "Turn Loose The Swans") especially when the violin is used like in 'Nothing'. Here even some leads are copied and integrated with quite perfection into the sick and quite brutal death metal soundscape.

Overall the band has made quite a transformation from their 2012 demo to Upon Desolation, while at the beginning of their career they still played relatively classic HM-2 death metal, from album to album they have incorporated more atmospheric elements into their songs and integrated the death-doom aspect much more into the tracks. Thus, the eight songs are consistently on the highest rumbling death metal level and know how to entertain with quite a bit of variety and tempo changes. So it happens sometimes that in the one second still nasty blast beats are to be heard and suddenly the tempo is taken out completely and still played a quarter as fast. When Mortuous brings their doomy passages to the fore (as a good example the beginning of 'Metamorphosis' is mentioned), they often manage to create a dark, thoughtful and oppressive, almost sad atmosphere. Coupled with the deep growls, the sawing guitars and the very powerful drumming, they have created very unique hymns of darkness. Also the megasick guitar solos (Morbid Angel says hello!) make the listener shudder in awe - just listen to the transition into 'Days Of Grey'. The alternation between solos and gloomy and tough parts is breathtaking and creates an absolutely intense atmosphere that is hard to escape. Especially the always very surprising use of violins is what makes the album stand out from a lot of other death metal albums of the last time, because it is something refreshingly different from the regular gloomy productions, of which there are plenty. Thus, the guys have secured a niche in the death metal genre and will hopefully continue to use and develop it skillfully. The production is very powerful, so that the instruments come into their own - maybe it even sounds a little bit too modern, but that's complaining on the highest level.

Overall, Mortuous must be attested that they have created an album that, if it had been released in the 90s, would have become a classic for sure. So we have to wait and see what time will bring and how people will look at Upon Desolation in 10 years. In any case, I am impressed!

Rating: 9 out of 10