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Morbid Dimensions

Duplicate (2014)
Rating: 8.5/10

Described as one of “death metal’s best kept secrets”, Norwegian posse Execration return from the murk with their third opus Morbid Dimensions.

It’s an album that begins life with an ominous Black Sabbath-styled lumber called ‘Cosmic Mausoleum’ – that typical Tony Iommi-influenced thunder plod and pensive, stormy drums of apprehension. Execration is a foreboding presence; one keen to make itself heard amongst numerous other bands who over the years have opted for the same moniker, but this troupe is a different breed of beast.

Having formed back in 2004 out of Oslo they’ve churned out the sort of fusty death metal we all crave in our love, bolstered by those ashen vocal rasps and cold, grating grey chords of dissonance which are typical of that bleak Norwegian racket we first experienced with Darkthrone’s seminal Soulside Journey back in 1991.

Morbid Dimensions offers up a menu of nine tracks with a total running time of an hour – extreme metal blending slower, threatening passages with faster, primeval gasps of utmost horror immediately apparent with the aforementioned opening track. Once it emerges from the damp, festering slime of its slowness it takes on several unkempt forms, finding itself as a dishevelled monstrosity of flailing guitars and speedier froths of vocal madness.

This is classy old school death metal that occasionally swerves into muddier thrashing waters, hinting at echoes of black metal scathing and morose complexity with the cold strains of ‘Ritual Hypnosis’ which combines an unearthly clanking with some truly stirring early 90s death metal harshness. The whole ungodly sound is backed by the foetid drum kicks of Cato Syversrud who is truly mesmerising in his quest for ultimate skin battery, sewing together those troublesome bass lines which weave between those dank guitar chords. Again, the thrashier element is incorporated, effortlessly meandering its way through the mire of chillier climes of rancid, arrogant death metal to create a soundscape so formidable and intimidating that by the time it’s all over you’ll be admitting yourself to A&E.

With such doom-laden aplomb, the gruelling ‘Doppelgangers’ makes itself known through a wiry mesh of thorny guitar flits and those wretched vocal gulps, while the putrid title track begins with another of those slow, menacing drools in the guitar department before galloping across the tundra like some smouldering, grey behemoth eager for another rusty meal.

Execration is a truly wondrous experience for those who revel in Norway’s metallic slums of wintry abandonment. Instead of relying on absolute shuddering weight, this band exists via its ability to spit out some truly frightful death metal that never once rests in one style.

With the aforementioned title track the band displays its flexibility by hinting at traditional metal and icy doom; this multi-layered vessel is fronted by some of the most guttural vocal growls you’ll hear all year – musically it’s a leviathan that gradually builds in pace but always remains formidable in its percussion and emotionless guitar tone. Indeed, by the time the final track, ‘Funeral Procession’, has marched through your house leaving a trail of black ice, you’ll be cowering at the prospect of winter coming so early and permanently residing itself within the darkest corner of your abode.

Morbid Dimensions is a splendidly morose and arrogant piece of work consisting of conniving guitar work, sullen experimentation and above all a confidence, which suggests Execration has finally decided to crawl out from under its rock and take on the world because there’s nothing secretive about this cocksure slab of foreboding.

Neil Arnold

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