MORTA SKULD - Through the Eyes of Death (RELAPSE - CD 2013)
I don’t wanna go into some melodrama shit, but Morta Skuld is the band I am the most unlucky with. For a long time I only had their albums on cassettes, which someone recorded for me years ago, but all I really wanted were the original vinyls or at least some CDs. And I just never managed to get them. I tried bidding several times on Ebay or somewhere else and there was always someone, who offered more... and I still wait for my chance. Hope that one day I will finally collect all their stuff. Meanwhile I have a start with “Through the Eyes of Death”, which is a killer CD compilation (released on Relapse) that features both Morta Skuld demos: “Gory Departure” and “Prolong to Agony”, both originally released in 1990. I never had a chance to hear them, but I am very pleased to finally have a chance. This CD was released quite recently, so there was no problem to get a copy.
One thing, which strikes the most, after the first quick check of the music, is how well those demos were recorded. Damn, such “Gory Departure” may even have a better sound than the debut LP “Dying Remains”. And that’s not something I expected, but damn, nice surprise for sure! I guess the music is also not something what you could hear often from American death metal bands. Style wise Morta Skuld demos is nothing like Morbid Angel, Suffocation, Deicide or Cannibal Corpse. Maybe there’s a similarity to such Obituary, Death, Viogression or Massacre, but their style is also very European, with bands like Grave, Gorefest (demos), Cancer and so on. There are some melodic riffs here and there, what makes Morta Skuld sound like more European act sometimes, but at the same time some of these melodies can lead you also into the Death comparison (the beginning of “Gory Departure”). Mainly though the music is based on mid paced, chunky, heavy riffage.
Both demos sound very alike, so having them together on one CD makes you feel like you were actually listening to a full length album. The production quality is very similar between both and musically Morta Skuld also didn’t change much between these few months, which separate both demo recordings. If “Prolong to Agony” brought any changes, then I suppose it would be slightly more technical and also heavier playing here and there, especially drumming and the vocals are more kind of demonic and vicious I suppose. For example “Of Evil” comes even close to such Acheron. Generally it’s just fuckin damn awesome stuff, but I guess the debut demo is the one I like slightly more and that’s despite it having “Preacher of Lies”, which I don’t think is such a good song. It’s just slightly different to the other tracks, maybe more like thrash / death, I don’t know, but it’s just nothing special, although it does have a lot of variety. But damn, “Sacrificial Rite” and “Gory Departure” are just excellent songs, I do like them a lot and are definitely the best pieces on the entire CD, in my opinion.
“Through the Eyes of Death” brings also two bonus tracks. First one is titled “Eternal Suffering” and originally it was supposed to be published on an old Earache compilation, if I’m not mistaken, but never did, so it remained unreleased until now. And it’s really great, more doomy death metal song, very much in the vein of “Prolong to Agony” demo. And the second bonus is Metal Church cover, recorded in 2008! Obviously the sound quality on it is better and the music of Metal Church is also far from the rough, chunky death metal, which Morta Skuld played on their old demos, but damn, I love this cover a lot. The band did its death metal version, so you can imagine how it sounds like. For me, it’s just really damn cool cover tune!
OK then. I have nothing else to say about “Through the Eyes of Death”, other than it’s just damn awesome compilation CD and I love both Morta Skuld demos. I wish this stuff was also released on vinyl, and hopefully it will! But now, I am not the hunt for the original vinyls of Morta Skuld, again, although I saw some prices, which simply made me laugh already haha! Assholes and fuckin vermin are everywhere.
Standout tracks: “Sacrificial Rite”, “Gory Departure”, "Feast from Within"
Final rate: 90/100