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The Blueprint For Blood Spatter

Comatose Music (2013)
Rating: 8/10

American death metallers Mortal Decay (not to be confused with the German one album wonders from the late 90s) formed back in 1991 but have been rather sporadic with their releases with only one album, 1997’s Sickening Erotic Fanaticism, merging in that decade.

However, since 2002 the New Jersey combo has released three records, with The Blueprint For Blood Spatter being their most recent. It’s also the first to feature Malignancy growler Danny Nelson, although it’s fair to say that Mortal Decay have never had a stable vocalist. Even so, despite the changes this 30-minute nine-tracker is still a cadaverous affair that lingers in the throat with its foetid air of grindcore-styled bellows and furious drum assaults courtesy of Anthony Ipri.

The Blueprint For Blood Spatter, with its marrying of twisted riffs and twanging bass amidst those volatile flurries of bony bass and shards of drum, is the sort of record I can only stomach in short waves. That’s not to say this is an accessible record, far from it; the song ‘Blueprint’ being a fine example of how the band can literally pound the crap out of the listener and yet somehow relinquish its hold by introducing unexpected melody and a slower pace.

Of course, a track called ‘Jugular Gurgle’ lives up to its name as Nelson vomits his innards over a superb melody before those bemusing structures impose themselves like barbed-wire forced into the ears. And then we have the glorious gore of ‘Nocuous Compulsions’ and the bellowing climax of ‘Altruistic Masochism’.

But this is quite a masterful record when one finally finds the patience to strip backs it scab-encrusted layers. Its greatest quality is the guitar sound, provided by John Hartman and Joe Gordon who cut, stab and slash their way through a maze of bodies, frantically charging, then retreating with twisted smile before indulging in further murderous practices until unexpectedly shifting gears into accessibility. A big nod must also go to bassist Monty Mukerji whose devilish fingers work their way through sinew and bone to give this record a truly warped feel as if a serial killer is tying us up in knots of hair and flesh.

Mortal Decay are more than happy to let us into their decrepit realm, instead of completely alienating us. The complexity is evident but not extra-terrestrial, and there is an effortlessly joining of such technicality and simplicity, meaning that tracks such as ‘Ocular Haze’ and ‘Mourning Euphoria’, for all of their staggering hostility, are still places where we’ll happily linger, such is the infectious nature of this half-an-hour platter of splatter.

Neil Arnold

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