Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Morbus Chron: Sleepers in the Rift (2011)


By now, you're probably sick of hearing about the revival of old-school death metal. Or maybe you're just sick of me talking about it. Or maybe, you just wish the OSDM tag would be a little more honest. Bands who get tagged with that label tend to play one of three things. One, something slower and heavier than any death metal that actually existed before the 21st century. Two, an indistinct mess of frightening death metal-like sounds without any discernible riffs, also based on some ideal of early death metal that never really existed. Three, Swedish death. But out of all the bands being labeled "old school", no one seems to be playing death metal in its original form.

Except for Morbus Chron, that is. Despite being from Sweden, they play death metal as it existed before Left Hand Path.

The band channels the style of early Death and Autopsy better than anyone out there today--maybe even better than Autopsy themselves. That means each song is a mix of various thrashy, mid-range riffs, played a little slower and a little uglier than a thrash band would have. Add in some twisted solos, good drumming, and mostly-inaudible bass, and the formula is nearly complete. Instead of death growls or Swedish hoarse-throated death grunts so common in OSDM, the vocal style is an agonized mid-range shriek reminiscent of the great Schuldiner himself.

It's also clear that Morbus Chron haven't lost sight of the attitude of the early death metal forebears. Where others tend toward a dead-serious and stoic examination of gore, these guys are still a little horrified by the prospect of death, and, as a result, pepper it with a mild sense of humor. Gems include "Coughing in a Coffin" and "Creepy Creeping Creep." Cue nervous laughter.

The Verdict: It's hard to believe Sleepers in the Rift was not recorded in Florida circa 1990. It's an extremely faithful and well-executed, honest tribute to death's pioneers. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.


  1. And one other thing: the cover art is amazing.

  2. And a third thing: It is available on the newly opened Pulverised Records Bandcamp. I added the album to Metal Bandcamp here.