Mortician

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Chainsaw Dismemberment

Mortician - Chainsaw Dismemberment ©1999 Relapse
1. Stab
2. Fleshripper
3. Drowned In Your Blood
4. Mass Mutilation
5. Mauled Beyond Recognition
6. Rabid
7. Bloodshed
8. Decayed
9. Final Bloodbath
10. Island Of The Dead
11. Brutalized
12. Slaughtered
13. The Crazies
14. Silent Night, Bloody Night
15. Chainsaw Dismemberment
16. Psychotic Rage
17. Funeral Feast
18. Wolfen
19. Dark Sanity
20. Camp Blood
21. Tormented
22. Slaughterhouse (Part II)
23. Barbarian
24. Rats
25. Mater Yenebarum
26. Splattered
27. Obliteration
28. Lord Of The Dead (Mortician Part II)

If music were to be ranked evolutionarily, Mortician would be be "further down" on the chart, somewhere between the advent of opposable thumbs and speciation. Chainsaw Dismemberment is a 43 minute blur of blasting, primitive death metal propped up against slasher movie samples. Fair enough, but where's "Maniac Cop"?

Actually, the music is a pitch black morass of triple-time quasi-believable electronic pounding with a psuedo-real bass frequency that is 75 fathoms deep and sinking, often indistinguishable from the vocal line. Incidentally, the vocals are simply instrumental, grunting lyrics which resemble plot points of a Mario Bava screenplay. Gotta hand it to them for consistency.

If the above sounds like a good time, consider it an invite. Perhaps my attention span is too well developed for this, but I have yet to capture the angle from which to appreciate these fleeting, bruising A.C. in mud reinterpretations. Somewhat refreshingly Chainsaw Dismemberment suggests absolutely no pretense about its endeavors: death metal, camp horror, cool artwork and weight lifting. Though largely unmoved, this cynical jerk remains impressed that Mortician can exist so comfortably in this universe of their own making, independant of external discourse.

So folks dig this band. I do not. Many worse things could happen.

Review by Lee Steadham

Review date: 09/1999

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Hacked Up For Barbeque / Zombie Apocalypse

Mortician - Hacked Up For Barbeque / Zombie Apocalypse ©2004 Relapse
1. Bloodcraving
2. Embalmed Alive
3. Cremated
4. Three on a Meathook
5. Brutally Mutilated
6. Deranged Insanity
7. Cannibal Feast
8. Blown to Pieces
9. Fog of Death
10. Brutal Disfigurement
11. Apocalyptic Devastation
12. Inquisition
13. Hacked Up For Barbecue
14. Abolition
15. Necrocannibal
16. Ripped in Half
17. Morbid Butchery
18. Decapitated
19. Drilling For Brains
20. Eaten Alive by Maggots
21. Witches' Coven
22. Worms
23. Annihilation
24. Mortician
25. Devoured Alive
26. Incinerated
27. Zombie Apocalypse
28. Slaughterhouse
29. Hell on Earth
30. Charred Corpses
31. Dissected
32. Blood Harvest

It seems perhaps a little passé reintroducing a band who has undergone precisely zero stylistic change either before or since the last review of their album was posted on this website over a decade ago, but since this review covers an earlier album (and EP) and will thus be seen before the earlier entry, why not restate the obvious? Composed of two (sometimes three) remarkably ugly men, Mortician has been spreading their particular brand of merriment since the early 90s, churning out a distinctively primitive, drum machine-driven take on New York Death Metal. Basically, they sounds like what Incantation would sound like if every member of that band had been hit in the back of the head with a brick, the drummer hemorrhaged to death and was thus replaced by a robot, and the song lengths were cut in half and horror movie samples were tacked on to compensate. All in all, Mortician are a pretty stupid band, and death metal is hard pressed to sound cheesier or more predicable than this, but at the same time, there's a certain charm and dedication to Mortician's style that makes it impossible for me to not like them.

Hacked Up For Barbeque/Zombie Apocalypse pairs up Mortician's third album and the EP that followed it a couple years later, but let's not fool ourselves here: there is absolutely no stylistic delineation between any of these thirty two tracks. And as such, this CD comes off sounding like one really long barrage of tiny death metal songs rather than a compilation of two separate releases. If you dig Mortician's Neanderthal approach, then this album will prove quite entertaining as it is positively packed with hell pit growling and a more-than-adequate amount of evil, downtuned riffing, all piled over a magnificently cheesy, oddly appropriate sounding drum machine. But if you require a little more, uh, "intricacy" to your metal experience, Hacked Up For Barbeque/Zombie Apocalypse will leave you bored very quickly, as the band pretty much exhausts all of their tricks by track two, leaving one without any hope of variety on the horizon beyond the source of the next horror movie sample. Speaking of which, am I crazy or do these guys not know how to appropriately edit down a sample at all? I'm not at all opposed to sampling films or whatever the hell one wants for their music, but unless you are building up to an intro or outro, there's really no reason why a sample should go on for more than a few seconds. Although it's funny for a bit, the truth is that many of Mortician's samples, no matter how appropriate to the song's subject matter, drag on for way too long, and the result is that the momentum built up between songs is continually broken thanks to the band's insistence that entire scenes from horror films be recorded to set the mood for the song rather than merely choice cuts from the scenes. I mean, granted, nobody accused these guys of being a traveling pack of mensas or anything, but as the CD dragged further on, I found myself often thinking "JUST GET TO THE FUCKING SONG ALREADY! YEESH!"

…Not that it really even mattered what the next song was, mind you; I knew damn well that the next song was going to sound just like the last. As would the next…and the one after…

…Which isn't even to say that the saminess of Mortician is a flaw in of itself. Whether due to a tenacious dedication to approach, a lack of technical ability, or a lack of imagination, Mortician is what it is, and I can respect them for sticking to their guns so tightly. However, if you are going to be a one-trick pony, you better damn well be sure that you're performing a great trick. Mortician's trick is certainly an enjoyable one, but it proves pretty fatiguing throughout the course of thirty-two tracks. In small to medium sized doses, Hacked Up For Barbeque/Zombie Apocalypse is great, romping, mondo retardo death metal fun. Granted, I probably won't sit through the entire thing in a single session at any point again in the near future.

Not that this was ever Mortician's intent anyway. You see, Mortician are artists who understand that the idealized, unmitigated expression and representation of one's work and optimal degrees of economy rarely go hand-in-hand; such is both the burden and the quandary of the artist who lives in a capitalistic society where physical production is almost always tied to monetary cost. Yet Mortician, being highly sympathetic to the condition of the proletarian common person in addition to being artists of substantial vision, decided that despite the altered manner in which their art may now be perceived within the iron clasp of recontextualization, people nonetheless deserved the greatest access of Mortician's art possible within the capitalist scheme. Mortician were aware of the inherent limitations artistic expression has within asserting one's self as free within a fundamentally unfree society, but at the same time, would they not simply be perpetuating the cycle of oppression and economic enslavement they supposedly detested if the people could not listen to "Drilling for Brains" and "Charred Corpses" on the same affordably priced CD? The band knew the answer to this dilemma, and it is through such moral fortitude that this turgid compilation saw release. If only so many musical collectives could be so bold and courageous as the men in Mortician are. If only...

Oh, also, "Necrocannibal" is a pretty sweet song.

Review by Hunter Brawer

Review date: 02/2011

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