CD REVIEW Mutilation Rites

Band: Mutilation Rites
Title: Empyrean
Label: Prosthetic Records
Distribution: Suburban
Release date: 22/05/2012
Review: CD

Brooklyn-based Mutilation Rites were formed about two and a half year ago by Michael Dimmitt (g) and drummer Justin Ennis (ex-Tombs). The band’s line-up did change somewhat throughout the years, but when the original duo recruited vocalist / guitar player George ‘Lazarus’ Paul, who used to play in The Heuristic with Justin before (and also active as Lazarus in Black-band Hexer), and 100 Suns-vocalist / bass player Iain Deadrick, Justin’s former colleague in Curendera - the latter left in mean time and was replaced by Wetnurse / Today Is The Day’s Ryan Jones - then the band’s studio efforts got perfected.

Empyrean is the first full length studio album by Mutilation Rites. And for sure it is a very special record. It has to do with the direction the band wants to go, and this concerns a direction unknown. In general, Mutilation Rites bring a thrashing form of Underground Black Metal with a certain old stylish approach, close to the Nordic sub-genre. But it goes further than this. The band injects the mainly fast and energetic Primitive Black Metal-songs with elements from Crust, Groove, Sludge and (Funeral / Death) Doom. I read a review telling the incoherence of musical influences was a drawback, but I do not agree. I think it’s a benefit for sure, because this band performs with a certain consistency and coherence. Besides, it isn’t that unusual to mingle Crust, Punk, Black Metal, Sludge etc. anymore, so what’s the problem (besides a subjective aversion or narrow-minded stupidity)? I can imagine the vocals will irritate some after a while. Sometimes they are reminiscent to Varg Vikernes (Burzum) during his earliest efforts, yet even more sore. Personally I do not give a damn about it - I don’t dislike this kind of ‘singing’ - but it might annoy after a while, probably.

My main problem is the f*cked-up production. What the f*ck??? This isn’t ‘underground’, it’s ‘cheap’. What a mess, what a mushing mix. Drums that sound like sticks hitting tin boxes and hollow trunks, guitar riffs sounding far, too far away, bass guitars sometimes almost unheard and completely absent, then again prominently present… No, that’s not just a shame; it’s an inexcusable disappointment. A pity! It does influence my final score, unfortunately.


Ivan Tibos.