There is a deep resonance that welcomes you – a resonance that can only result from a large room most probably located in the lower regions of a building. The rattling of whatever fastens arms or legs echoes through the room while someone is desperately begging for mercy. Between unsettling crying and disturbing sounds, the fragments of the word ‘please’ repeatedly come up. What next? You will most probably suggest that this setting describes the climax of a horror movie – but you would be incorrect. We are right at the beginning of the full-length studio debut album Feast of Maggots by Death Metal quintet Mortals’ Path.
Mortals’ Path are a five-member outfit hailing from the Ruhr Area. The band was formed in 2015 and so far released a self-titled demo in 2016 and their first EP Blood Omen in 2017. The latest release was recorded by Martin Bondzio at Anubis Klangwerkstatt in Dortmund. Mortals’ Path shared their stage already with many regional bands at different shows, but also just recently played with Death Metal pioneers Entrails. Apart from that, the quintet will also play with Benediction on the 1st of November at the End of Days Fest Part 2, together with Sabiendas and many more. Although this band pretty much comes from neighbor cities, I had not known about their music until a friend of mine turned on a track from their EP – and it did not take long to fall in love with that sound.
The first and album-titled track “Feast of Maggots” that was initiated by the sample mentioned above kicks off with a chilling guitar melody that instantly displays two of the most salient positive features of the album. The first one of these features is the incredibly fitting dark melody that leads you through the first track. The soundscape opening up with this melody lets you already imagine walking through a misty graveyard at night. Similar melodies that nevertheless are distinctive for the tracks can be found on the entire album – these melodies also show that the quintet has quite a love for the Swedish side of Death Metal. This becomes even more obvious when “Monument” jumps into its melody part and we get to hear a less chilling but more melodic accompaniment. In tracks such as “Face First into Purgatory,” Mortals’ Path succeed in beginning their song with a melody – then continue not repeating it for quite a long time and right at the point when you forgot about that melody it’s added up again to the last verse – harmonizing with the entire song.
The second aspect that could also be heard at the first track already is the production of the album. This debut is self-produced and recorded in Dortmund, so the band itself had the crucial impact on the decision how this album is going to sound like – and this seems to be a good point. Right from the start, especially the drums are a thrashing support for the Oldschool Death Metal sound Mortals’ Path play. The very present bass-drum absolutely speeds up the whole range of the tracks. Apart from the melodies on the guitars mentioned above, the production and sound of the guitars on the tracks “Stabwound” and “Open Casket Funeral” need to be mentioned. All in all I am no big fan of namedropping during reviews because I want to take a look at the band I am writing about – but FUCK that Entombed sound is awesome. This dirty sound that is most prominent on the two tracks mentioned above absolutely mixes the different favors Mortals’ Path seem to have for several Swedish Death Metal legends.
This might sound as if Mortals’ Path only range within the footsteps of former Swedish bands – but the album is definitely more than that. The first few tracks are classy, straightforward Death Metal songs – some of them fast and trashing – some of them groovy. In the second half of the album, however, beginning with “Godless,” several subgenres seem to be mixed into the sound of the album. The track mentioned above hits the brakes and takes an absolute groove connected with memorable melodies. “Open Casket Funeral” begins with a Hooded Menace-ish Doom Death Metal intro – then transcending into a faster Death Metal track and back into Doom Death during the C-part. The ninth track “Orgy in Gore” also brings in Death ‘n’ Roll elements with a more rocky drum pattern and a classy Rock ‘n’ Roll solo. The band succeeds in blending in several different genres thus showing that they are capable of consistently venturing alternating sounds. At some point, however, the listener might wonder why exactly Mortals’ Path sometimes does not take the leap fully emerging into one of the genres they are evidently pointing at. Especially “Open Casket Funeral” might have served as a slower track as well. Nevertheless, this does not mean that the track itself is bad, since it eventually jumps back into the sound Mortals’ Path has already shown on the previous tracks of Feast of Maggots.
The musician that serves the most to enable the transition between the different genres on the album in this case definitely is Sebastian Teschner on the drums. This album falls back into groovy sections many times, but it effortlessly switches between grooves and thrashing fast passages. Teschner showcases that he has no problems to change in speed on a lot of the tracks on the album. Apart from that, however, Martin Wörndel initially begins moving within the range of classy Oldschool Death Metal regarding his vocals and later on also shows that he is capable of diving way deeper into the lows if necessary.
The instrumental aspects mentioned above combined with the incredibly distinguishing guitar melodies already described and an absolutely recommendable production offers an extremly decent debut album for a band that has been in the business for “only” as much as four years. This year alone (2019) has seen a large list of new Death Metal albums dropped by big names ( Possessed – Malevolent Creation – Misery Index), but Mortals’ Path are a perfect example to show that you should never neglect the bands that are happening right next door – because they can compete as well.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
8 / 10
As usual, we added the two favorite tracks to our Transcended Review Playlist