Monday 7 July 2014

Mordbrand - Imago (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 26/5/2014
Label: Doomentia Records/Deathgasm Records

Mordbrand- “Imago” CD/LP track listing

1) Revelate 05:16
2) Join them in Thralldom 04:23
3) That Which Crawls 04:43
4) Their Name Are Myriads 03:44
5) Hoarding the Grotesque 03:17
6) Bastion of Blood 05:29
7) The Spawning (Born of Rot) 04:03
8) Imago 02:10
9) Sever the Limbs that Grace 04:53


It took them years to come up with it but it was worth the wait… At first, it seemed MORDBRAND was ‘just’ an occasion for Per Boder, former frontman for one of early 90’s Swedish death-metal most revered yet criminally short-lived act MACABRE END/GOD MACABRE, to show the world that almost two decades after the release of ‘The Winterlong’, the man still meant business. An impression cemented by the fact this studio-project only, completed by Johan Rudberg and Björn Larsson both of THE LAW, initially chose to release splits or EPs only, such as ‘Necropsychotic’ (2010) or ‘Kolombarium’ (2011).

But somewhere down the line, things kinda flipped. And all through last year’s ‘Unmake’, incidentally their first association with DOOMENTIA, transpired an obvious desire to take things further from then on. And this is exactly what we get with ‘Imago’, the trio’s first real full-length that remains true to that promise. Released on CD by DEATHGASM (USA) and on LP by DOOMENTIA, what we have here is a rare example of an album that manages to both pay homage to the genre that spawned this evil breed onto this rotten planet yet dares thinking out of the box.

Yes, the guitars are as dirty as fuck yet do not neglect adding more thrashy or even melodic elements. Yes, Boder is still on of Sweden’s most impressive growler yet he does venture on some uncharted territories here, included surprising clean vocals on the album’s closer “Sever That Limbs That Grace”). And yes, fear not, this is still death fuckin’ metal, of the highest quality, tackled by another impressive Juan Castellano striking artwork and guest solos by AUTOPY’s Eric Cutler and GRAVEHILL’s CC Dekill on “Their Names Are Myriad”.

Guest appearances by RITE (vocals on "Bastion of Blood"), Eric Cutler (AUTOPSY, lead guitars on "Their Name Are Myriads"), CC DeKill (GRAVEHILL/COBRA VENOM, lead guitars on "Their Name Are Myriads), B. Kignell (grand piano on "Sever the Limbs that Grace).

Recorded, engineered & mixed by B. Larsson. Produced by MORDBRAND. Coverart by Mr Juanjo Castellano and layout by Lukasz Jaszak.

The Band:

B. Larsson | Guitars, basses, keys
P. Boder | Vocals
J. Rudberg | Drums


Mordbrand present their first full length- Swedish death metal with a difference. It doesn't sound like Entombed/Dismember. Nor does it sound like Dissection and certainly it is nothing like In Flames. Instead, you could be forgiven for thinking the band was Eastern European, perhaps. Doom and gloom are high on the agenda here. Black metal flourishes occur here and there, with a meaty and filthy production getting the best out of the songs. ‘Revelate’ is a thrashy proposition with some nice guitar work and even some melody here and there. ‘Join Them In Thralldom’ is pacier and builds on the immediate start made by track one.

‘That Which Crawls’ slows things to a mid pace with some sinister riffing with, again, black metal flourishes. Cool double tracked vocals in parts too, lending a sense of the epic. The passage of riffs at the halfway point is welcome and unusual too.

‘Their Name are Myriads’ is back to quicker business (Motorhead pace initially) before going to something beyond thrash, but not a blast beat. ‘Hording the Grotesque’, by contrast, goes for the blast early and then remains very quick in a thrash vein from the verse onwards.

‘Bastion Of Blood’ is doomy, very doomy in fact, and adds a different dynamic to the record. It boasts some melodic guitar playing behind the sludge and again the roaring vocals are ably double tracked/backed by more choral tones. The tempos shifts as the track progresses and the band display their more progressive leanings.

‘The Spawning (Born of Rot)’ is almost Sepultura-like in its insistent attack- thrash beats will get your head nodding until a half time change that will get your head fully banging- glorious stuff!
The title track is the album's shortest offering at just over two minutes of creepy beats, samples and guitar. It serves as an interlude before ‘Severe the Limbs that Grace’ unveils itself as the most ambitious and all encompassing track on the album. The piano outro is an excellent touch.

This is a strong and unusual release in that it does not conform to the accepted death metal tenets- it is not always fast, brutal or completely death metal, in fact. It is unique and all the more interesting for it. Doomentia records have some great bands on the roster and Mordbrand's name can now be added to that list.

Words by: Richard Maw

You can get it here and here