Morbid Cross – Ungodly Infestation (Self-Released)

Monday, 16th May 2022
Rating: 8.5 / 10

DIY metal of the underground variety often stands on par with what bigger budget releases on prominent labels issue these days. New Jersey thrashers Morbid Cross return for their latest full-length Ungodly Infestation – expanding upon an original three-song conceptual EP into a full-fledged offering of six original songs plus a gritty take on “Exciter” from the Stained Class album of Judas Priest. Most readers would probably look at the brutal cover piece to think you were going to hear an extreme metal offering – and while there are aspects of that style inherently present, you’ll also hear traditional, crossover, hardcore, doom, and groove elements sprouting from a natural love of thrash at heart.

“Dwellers of the Dark” opens the proceedings in an almost flatline, heart monitor atmosphere – slowly picking up the tempo into Exodus meets Power Trip stomping measures, vocalist Zach Marcus bursting his larynx in bloody murder proportions between screams and growls, while drummer Daemon Kolonich slams home a powerhouse main groove with proper timely fills. The first three songs are the trilogy of demonic possession songs for the record – developing different shades of speedy thrash or even epic doom measures as you’ll hear in the roller coaster nine-minute plus epic “Prized Possession” where facets of Sleep go hand in hand with Sodom/Destruction tenacity. The guitar work from Steven James has tact, finesse, and cross-pollination momentum – channeling a lot of the greats from Iommi and Hammett to many European axe masters, showcasing a lot of deft, galloping tricks and divebomb activities during “Wrath of God”. Keeping the underground spirit penetrating “Exciter”, Zach’s more acidic vocal take could be a hit or miss aspect to this version, but the musical performance showcases the iconic appeal, choosing to be very double bass-oriented and featuring the killer riffs/lead breaks that made this leather and steel act pioneers.

While Disciples of the Goat established Morbid Cross’ primal thrash ferocity, Ungodly Infestation showcases an act spreading their progressive horizons into a wide array of influences while still keeping the sound hard and heavy. In other words, devil’s horns raised high, headbangers uniting at the sound of this killer band.

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