Brooklyn’s MUTILATION RITES are back with their newest offering Harbinger, out July 22 via Prosthetic Records. Although it’s hard to stick true to a genre that seems confined within its limitations, these guys unleash their take on Black Metal in a very remarkable way. It was somewhat refreshing to be given the opportunity to review an album like this because I don’t exactly feel like an expert on the subject, but I still have a growing interest in this genre especially when it’s executed like this.
It’s quite easy to see that this group of musicians and songwriters have perfected their craft throughout this musical experience. The opener “Black Pyramid” immediately reminds me of De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas-era MAYHEM with the raw and dark sounding guitar tones; the rhythm section is cut-throat including the stellar bass work. “Exhaling or Breathing In” gives you the feeling of walking through a graveyard on a gloomy evening filled with mist and greying sky; the pace changes a few times while coming to a section that is similar to METALLICA’s “Battery” if it were written by POSSESSED. Perfectly executed, as is the following “Tactical Means of Ouroboros” which begins abruptly with a ferocious attack of chords and blast beats while also containing parts that are punk infused and a grimy sludge-filled ending.
The next few tracks delve into a more diverse side of the band starting with “Gravitational Collapse” having some of the best riffs on this entire release; also included are many time changes and a nod to old school metal where I hear a hint of SOILENT GREEN inspired riffs. Oddly enough, “Contaminate” starts off reminding me of GOATWHORE which absolutely kicks ass, but then we are spiraled into an atmospheric Black Metal descent. The drums are very unique on this mostly instrumental track which you can hear true feeling and emotion throughout. “Suffer the Children” shows a ghastly display of metal with some of the most tormented sounding low vocals and there is a haunting slow ambient break before the ending which seems to kick you in face and then slowly fade off, very well done.
The closing of this album begins with the distorted bass intro of “Ignus Fatuus” which brings back the slower ambient feel as heard earlier in true black fashion; the drums pick up once more around the three minute mark to bring back the fast pace but I still feel that this one is not as strong as the others. With “Conspiracy of Silence” I’m immediately drawn back in with purest showcasing of how Black Metal is done right; this number is fast, dark and sinister: everything I like to hear from a band like this.
I highly recommend this release for fans of any of the aforementioned bands and also if you’re looking to get your foot in the door of the realms of this particular genre. While this may not be everyone’s cup of coffee I think it will go over well with many metal listeners. Pick up a copy today and support the underground!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Exhaling or Breathing In”, “Tactical Means of Ouroboros”, “Gravitational Collapse”, “Contaminate”, “Conspiracy of Silence”
WRITTEN BY JOR-EL