Morta Skuld are back! It’s been twenty years since their last full-length (and subsequent break-up), and their return to bring us crushing old-school death metal is most welcome. Though not usually the first band that comes to mind when you think of classic death metal bands, Morta Skuld seem more like a hidden gem. However with their latest LP, Wounds Deeper Than Time, the band’s return proves that they belong in the same tier of the death metal world as their peers.
Wounds Deeper Than Time begins with “Breathe in the Black” which works as a great opener with it’s building through mid-paced riffing through to a thrashing death metal assault in the chorus, and ripping solos in the middle. The outro to the opening number is more mysterious with it’s harmonised melody and “old-radio” sound, before segueing into “Hating Life”. The song is generally slower and moodier than its predecessor, and features much simpler riffs but it still gets the head banging nonetheless. “My Weakness” is like a combination of the previous two tracks but with more. There’s full-blown blasting contrasted with slower chugging riffs, differing time signatures and all round crunching guitars throughout.
“Against the Origin” brings the tempo back down to slow but pummeling with a return to simplistic riffs. Marking the halfway point of Wounds Deeper Than Time is “In Judgement” which is an all-out balls-to-the-wall neck snapper with its warp-speed death metal aggression. The fast blasting riffs only let up in places offering a contrasting crush with heavy chugging guitars in their place.
It’s clear listening to the first half of Wounds Deeper Than Time that the rejuvenated Morta Skuld mean business. The music is undeniably crushing and heavy with twists and turns in terms of tempo and time throughout. There’s a sense of old-school Morta Skuld on the new album but done in the style of today. The modern production suits the band and there’s definitely more modern sounds in places showing that the band are masters of keeping true to their legacy but can move with the times (especially after two decades since their last LP).
Wounds Deeper Than Time’s assault continues with its title track. The song ranges from insanely heavy slow riffs to pounding blasts with them remaining largely simple but catchy. There’s a lot of different ideas going on in the song but Morta Skuld expertly make the music flow coherently from one riff to the next, and from one song to another. The same could be said for the album’s remaining triple threat – namely “Scars Within”, “Devour the Chaos” and the brutally crushing closer “Becoming One Flesh”. Wounds Deeper Than Time may not be a game-changing death metal record but it’s certainly bound to invoke mental mosh pits and flailing heads in band poster-adorned bedrooms and sweaty small capacity rock nightclubs everywhere.
Milwaukee death metal maniacs Morta Skuld are a welcome return to prominence with their new album Wounds Deeper Than Time. Frontman David Gregor has rallied his new troops to create a modern death metal record loaded with old-school spirit and true to Morta Skuld’s core sound. Overall it’s a brutal, crushing and insanely catchy album and is certain to set hordes of raging death heads into a frenzy worldwide. Among the torrents of identikit death metal out there today, the album stands out as the way the genre should be done, and I for one can’t wait ’til the songs make their way to a live performance in Glasgow. Morta Skuld are back!
Highlights: “Breathe in the Black”, “My Weakness”, “In Judgement”, “Wounds Deeper Than Time”, and “Becoming One Flesh”
Wounds Deeper Than Time is available now via Peaceville.