Released: 2003, Moribund Cult
Reviewer: Gabriel C. Zolman
Let’s cut to the chase: this is the shit. This is simply brilliant, and yet another goddamned reason that Moribund deserve your hard-earned dollars.
Like Thy Infernal before it (the band features former Thy Infernal rasp-and-hacker Nihilist), this is blackened Melodic Death from the US, that is so close in sound and approach to its Scandinavian peers, that you honestly would never suspect its place of origin had you not been told. And not only is it authentic, but unlike other US acts (Darkest Hour, Black Dahlia Murder, etc.), it’s possitively blackened to the core in every way that matters. This is not to slam the US Melodic Death scene--the aforementioned bands are worth your while, if you give them half a chance--but it is to say the sub-sub-subgenre In Memorium are a part of is a good deal more sinister than what you are likely to encounter.
Dare I say it, but this band is probably the most authentic band of its type in the US, and their debut, FROM MISERY…, could have easily come out (and been adored) during the genre’s peak in the mid-nineties. In fact, this is actually a good deal better than much of what Europe has brought us in recent years. And I’ll probably take a beating for this, but I’ll say it anyway: In Memorium are better after one record than Dark Funeral are after four.
Really, all that was lacking here was the packaging, which I thought was a little skimpy. Otherwise, this is track for track consistant (even the closing instrumental was good), and--colossal smartass that I am--it has left me with virtually nothing to mock. Those familiar with my reviews are well aware that I love harassing Black Metal acts (especially USBM bands) that take themselves too seriously…but this act is for real, and have earned their melodrama in my eyes. There is nothing even remotely gay or ridiculous about this. Yeah, I’m disappointed too--but hey, I still have three more things with pentagrams in the pile…
From the doomy guitar chords that open the title cut, to its controlled, coherant mix of Death Metal grooves, Black Metal slashing, and tasteful keyboard flourishes that bring to mind lost and forgotten greats like Fermenting Innards and The Moaning, this band will have you convinced within the first few moments of the album that not only are they longtime students of the style, they are also masters.
Somber, haunting keys decorate “Thy Hourless Season,” before breaking into a more traditional (and brutal) EuroDeath attack. “In The Form Of Darkness” has some excellent Thrash parts and is certainly not skimpy on the blast beats. “Des Todes Gruft” captures much of the angry magic that made Marduk such legends. The epic “Legend Of The Well-Fiend” seems to capture the band in Dissection mode, and they pull it off considerably better than many of the actual post-Dissection outfits that have surfaced over the years. Take that Owl Raper, er…Soul Reaper.
I held onto this disc for awhile before reviewing it, convinced it would grow old, and that my hyperbole-ladden praising of it would reveal itself to be uncalled-for. Well, it hasn’t. This is probably the only thing I’ve reviewed in months that I actually listen to recreationally. I would actually buy this, if I weren’t a wandering hobo.
Pick it up; it’s best thing since Thy Infernal packed up Satan’s shop.