Mortör – Burn Up the Dead (CDN Records)

Friday, 31st March 2017
Rating: 8/10

When’s the last time you listened to a death metal album and the first word that rolls off of your lips to describe it is “fun?” Peculiar as it may seem, that’s the best way to sum up Mortör’s third album, Burn Up the Dead. This death/thrash combo never fails to be full of energy and riffs that will cause you to smile despite their brutal premise.

Seemingly blended in equal parts death and thrash, Burn Up the Dead takes the usual dreary nature of this type of material and turns it on its head. Thrashy gallops meet massive death metal groove with a near absurd level of melodies coursing through each track. Don’t mistake melody for melodeath though, as there’s a firm plant of the band’s sound within the death metal confines, yet it somehow feels catchy and playful. Blame it on the quick tempo thrash riffs (see “Excecutioner”) that will cause an involuntary fist to the air, or the tasteful solos with a melodic tinge to them, or perhaps it’s the mid-tempo and violence-inciting groove in a track like “Cross the Line” but you’ll certainly be won over by the time you finish your first listen to Burn Up the Dead. There’s a little bit of an older feel to the material, but it never really goes full-retro either, instead focusing more closely on a time-honored death metal tradition: fusing brutal dynamics and avoiding blastbeat-itis.

Forget the formula, forget the genre tags and in-depth analysis – Burn Up the Dead is just a joyful dose of extreme metal. Turn it up loud, warm up your death metal growl, and belt along to the lyrics while working out those fist-pumping and circle pit skills. Mortör have crafted a hidden gem that all death metal fans should be able to get down with.

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