Mortician (United States Of America) – Zombie Massacre Live!

I have to say that this is probably Mortician’s only serious misstep, but they make up for it by it being a fucking enormous one.  ‘Zombie Massacre Live!’ is pretty terrible on every level because it’s Mortician sacrificing everything that makes them so good in the process of recording in the live environment.  Everything on this release is bad decision after bad decision, and the insane quantity of music on here can in no way make up for the utter lack of quality.

Everyone knows what Mortician’s music is like, and that’s the best part of the CD: it is Mortician.  The songs are, at their core, pretty good.  One element after another destroys them, though.  First and foremost is the employment of a live drummer.  I have honestly no clue why the band feels the need to get a drummer to play live for them, particularly when the mechanical, hyperfast rhythms are one of the most crucial elements to Mortician’s songs.  But above and beyond that, why was it necessary to get a self-indulgent drummer who does a fill every five fucking seconds, particularly on songs like ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ which DEMAND completely minimalist, brutal percussion?  It makes no sense at all and destroys the band’s sound.  What really wrecks what could be a decent release, though, is the production, which is awful on every song.  Every track is overly distorted and sounds like it was recorded through a video camera held up to an amp.  The bass levels blow the sound out of everything, reducing even the most coherent sections to a pile of indecipherable noise.

This fully lacks redeeming qualities.  You can’t derive enjoyment from the music because the sound is so shot to death, and what you can hear is played erratically at best.  People might be happy that the horror movie intros have been almost entirely stripped from all the tracks, but those that are still there are actually the best part of the album simply because they aren’t painful to listen to.  What makes Mortician good: simplicity, straightforwardness, extreme heaviness, and capable production which brings all those elements to light.  The band sacrifices the first two on the altar of live drumming, the third via incoherency (part production, part playing), and the final through the not-even-soundboard-level quality of the sound.  To top it all off, there’s no point to this being a ‘live’ album; apart from the drumming, none of the songs are changed, any crowd interaction is limited to Will Rahmer drawling about how ‘fuckin’ brutal’ the audience is and gurgling the occasional song title, and the only thing that reminds you that this is a live album is that the sound couldn’t possibly be THIS bad in ANY studio.  Best of all: it goes on for 37 tracks.

That’s what this album is.  37 excruciating tracks of horrible production that doesn’t quite mask painfully inappropriate drumming, the combination of which manages to destroy what’s one of the most consistent and awesome bands in the death metal scene today.  Holy christ is this awful.  Nothing more needs to be said, I want to shoot myself in the fucking ear drums right now.

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~ by noktorn on February 7, 2008.

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