Mortals / Repellers – Mortals / Repellers

Brooklyn trio Mortals garnered much-deserved attention with the visceral Sludge of last year’s second full-length Cursed to See the Future (Relapse Records), and hot on its heels comes the dark horror of their single-track contribution to this ‘split’ with Philly nasties Repellers (Broken Limbs). Led in by the sound of a rabid werewolf coming in for the kill and terrifying the shit out of the listener, ’10 Years of Filth’ is nevertheless a cleaner sound than one would imagine, but that and the quickened, Occult Doom-style pace still fails to lift the omen of the terrifying vocal scour.

There’s a melodic, NWOBHM sound to the riff at times, yet, when the defiling power of Caryn Havlik’s drums kicks in at the two-third mark, the resonance is electrifying. With leadwork and closing riffs possessing elements of Blackened Punk, this is a pulverising yet complex and occasionally emotional rollercoaster which further enhances the ladies’ collective reputation.

Every aspect of the Low End seems present in the sound of Crusty trio Repellers: from the morose, ‘spaghetti western’ feel of the intro to opener ‘Descend’, through the rampaging Stoner-Death intensity of its riff and rhythms, to the downright filthy croak which is as evil as it gets and the most hoarse rasp you’ll hear this side of hell’s frozen wastes. At times the speed of ‘Descend’ clean rips by, the band right on the edge of keeping time, the scything riff and pounding drums of the coda vicious and seething. A sinister opening to ‘From Jericho to Ai’ sees a terrifying, ponderous pace given a fulminating power by flashing, savage breaks and the expiring roars of the track’s second half. The initial melancholy of ‘False Solace’, rising to the band’s more familiar Blackened Thrash crush, closes an intriguing, mauling set with a paradoxical twist of emotion.

An interesting tussle then, full of twists and turns. Overall the spoils must go to Mortals, but their lesser-known partners offer up plenty of atmospheric brutality and many talking points.


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Mortals – Cursed To See The Future

mortals album cover

While most bands from Brooklyn should be viewed with caution given the possibility they may be a hipster plot to infiltrate the metal scene, at least according to a certain breed of metal ‘fan’, in the case of power-trio Mortals one should preferably don body armour and a hard hat lest you be flattened in the wake of their thunderous, bulldozing assault. Once their sophomore full-length release Cursed To See The Future(Relapse) starts to move, it barely lets up in single bloody-minded intensity over the course of forty-seven pulverising minutes.

Blending the feral, filth-flecked riffage of Mayhem at their most ugliest with the battering ram impact of crusty US types High on Fire and Lair of the Minotaur, Cursed To See The Future takes the Route One approach in terms of pace and structure; it’s quick, nasty and aggressive with minimal concessions to melody, akin to being repeatedly pounded over the head with a bone by a rabid caveman under a full moon. In short, it’s a wholly Neanderthal, unsubtle manner of playing and for the most part it’s utterly exhilarating as the frenzied attack of opening track ‘View From a Tower’ demonstrates while the more mid-paced, shifting grooves of ‘The Summoning’ remind you just how punishing sludge can be.

All three musicians are exemplary throughout with the triumphant drumming of Caryn Havlik deserving special praise while the venomous screech of Lesley Wolf lends an air of demonic intensity to proceedings that just makes everything that bit more evil sounding. One complaint is that some of the longer songs tend to drag at nearly ten minutes but with the overall assault being so devastating you’ll likely be too busy trying to catch your breath to care.

This is one band for the future we could do with seeing more from.


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