MR DEATH - Detached From Life (AGONIA Records - LP 2009)
There were quite a lot of reunions and comebacks from the netherworld in the past few years, but among all of them the one of Mr Death didn’t seem to be as exciting and interesting as some others. OK, it may not exactly be a reunion, it is a new band, but it features musicians, who were active in death metal bands already back in the early 90’s and then took a 15 years long break after which they formed Mr Death to see if their death metal passion is still there. But as I said, I wasn’t so excited about it, because the band in which these guys have played in the past – Expulsion – is not really the best Swedish death metal band from the early 90’s. Or maybe I should say that the first period of Expulsion existence was great – it was at the end of the 80’s when they released a couple of killer demos and both Thullberg and Lagergren have also been members of cult Treblinka. For that I definitely have a lot of respect for these two men (even though Treblinka and later Tiamat was all about Johan Edlund really, everybody else was just an addition). Anyway, after a short break Expulsion recorded some awfully mediocre and boring albums, when they’ve changed their style into more melodic and doomy type of death metal. Those recordings they did in the early 90’s are truly a piece of shit and that’s why I didn’t really bother about them so much. And they were also a reason why I didn’t feel like I want to check Mr Death in the first place, because what if this band will be also so shitty? I changed my mind, when I’ve listened to one or two tracks somewhere… It turned out that musically Mr Death has absolutely nothing in common with Expulsion and plays more traditional, raw and filthy death metal, which I was fond of much more than their early incarnation.
Anyway, with all my scepticism towards Mr Death, when I’ve listened to a couple of songs from their first album – “Detached From Life” – I was quite blown away and surprised. It seems like this band is much better than Expulsion have ever been and managed to record some really cool old school death metal tunes. One may ask why haven’t they done that in the 90’s with Expulsion, but I’m not going to ask for the aims of their comeback to the death metal scene. I just prefer to enjoy some good Swedish old school death metal, have a beer and admire one of the coolest artworks for the vinyl I’ve seen lately. It is truly killer, made in sort of movie poster style, with great drawing of two rotten monks – that brings Death’s “Scream Bloody Gore” and “Leprosy” to my mind immediately! It is awesome. Also the band’s photo is quite original – think of Hitman PC game style suit-wearing bolt guys who’re zombies. Have I seen General Surgery doing this also?
Well, the album was recorded in the Sunlight Studio and thus it must mean it’s not going to be a mediocre quality, boring death metal band. And Mr Death definitely is not. Not only I can truly say I love their production, but also music wise they make a huge impression on me with their Entombed / Grave influenced death metal (and if you think that Torture Division is great, then listen to Mr Death and judge yourself who’s better hehe). The songwriting on “Detached From Life” is simple, but effective, with a straight forward aggression and occasional hooks here and there. The band has composed some truly killer riffs and songs and as such they definitely succeeded in bringing this rotten death metal style back to life. Songs like “Suffer” are just awesome, they’re groovy, but at the same time have some faster and neckbreaking parts, so in the end I just bang my head in excitement. And many more songs are in this vein, like “Black Blood” and “The Storm” for instance, while at the same time Mr Death rather avoids being melodic in the classic Swedish death metal style. They opted for grooviness and heaviness of their music and that’s absolutely fine, if you ask me. The whole album is solid and good, so I can truly recommend it to you, if you like this kind of playing.
Standout tracks: "Suffer", "black Blood", "The Storm"
Final rate: 78/100