I think I’ve written about every release by Sweden’s Mordbrand after their 2010 debut in a split with Evoke, including their excellent 2014 album Imago. Since I only write about what I like and want to recommend, you can figure out that they haven’t disappointed me yet — and they still haven’t: Their forthcoming two-song 7″, Vastation, is another winner for fans of Swedish death metal.
The first song, “Failure of the Paraclete”, is loaded with a variety of big riffs — riffs that grind, gallop, lurch, and stagger — and a rhythm section that expertly matches the music’s shifting patterns, with rippling bass and tremolo chords surfacing at the end to close the song memorably.
Photo by I. Jansson
Contrasting with the potent energy of “Failure”, “Ashen Hollow” is more of an ominous, stomping monolith, a dark and shaggy beast that’s riddled with an eerie atmospheric lead guitar melody that writhes like an infestation of maggots. Eventually, the music starts to romp, and then to whip, in a flurry of blasting double-bass and grinding chords, with slow, phantasmagorical notes drifting over the storm.
And in both songs Per Boder provides yet another reminder that he has one of the most expressive (and intelligible) gravel-throated death metal growls in the business. Positively ghastly.
In a nutshell, the veterans in Mordbrand have done again on Vastation what they always seem to do — expertly creating time-tested Swedish death metal that you can sink your teeth in (or rather, it sinks its teeth into you), and doing it with style.
Björn Larsson – Guitar, Bass
Johan Rudberg – Drums
Per Boder – Vocals
Vastation will be released by To the Death Records on October 31. The fantastic cover art was created by Necromaniac. To the Death have created a Bandcamp page for the record, but there’s no music streaming there yet. So for now, I suppose I’m asking you to take my word for it — this is really good.