Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Krabathor - Mortal Memories EP (1996)

Like the band's previous EP The Rise of Brutality, Mortal Memories contains a mix of the old and new, with several songs recycled from the band's earlier demos, and a few new cuts, including one that would resurface on the band's fourth full-length album Orthodox. As such, the contents here are largely more 'brute' and primitive sounding than on Lies, but re-recorded such that they'd appeal to the more modern ear of the 90s.

The band's forceful thrash metal roots seep through on the earlier material, which begins with "Breath of Death" from the demo of the same name, released in 1988 when the band was known as simply Krabator. It's pretty impressive that the band were this brutal already in the 80s, and the song itself benefits from the gruffer vocals and crisp, punching guitar tone. But otherwise it's not all that great, with a series of soon forgotten riffs. "Bestial War" is another tone rehashed from the Total Destruction demo (also '88), short and sweet at under 2:00, and exhibiting a more punk/thrash crossover aesthetic slathered in the gutturals. "Apocrypha" reminds me a lot of Sepultura circa Beneath the Remains, a death-heavy brand of thrash metal which originally appeared on the band's 3rd demo Brutal Death (once again, '88).

Next is the newer material, in particular "Orthodox" which would become the title track of the band's next full-length album. The track seems cruder and less melodic than the material the band had release on Lies, as if Krabathor were headed back a step towards their roots. I sort of missed the direction the band were in when they released Cool Mortification, and I found this less than compelling, though not bad. "Slavery" has a slow, choppy crawl to it with vocals that evoke old Martin van Drunen (Pestilence, Asphyx). In fact, though not as catchy, the track feels like something that could have appeared on Consuming Impulse. There's also a video clip included with this CD for the track "Unneccessarity" from Lies and The Rise of Brutality EP.

While I don't consider Mortal Memories to be any sort of cash grab or a 'bad release', it's only of import to Krabathor fans who want re-recordings of demo material. "Slavery" is probably the most worthwhile track here, but "Orthodox" will appear again shortly on an album. This did also mark a shift in the band towards a more typical, slamming death metal style, which I found unfortunate.

Verdict: Indifference [5.5/10]


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