In news very much welcomed across the Death Metal community, US based maestros Morta Skuld announced their return a few years ago, releasing a solid EP and now delivering their first full length record for twenty years. It wouldn't be an outrageous statement at all to say that Morta Skuld helped influence a series of bands across the scene, especially following their signing with Peaceville Records in 1993 and releasing the hugely popular Dying Remains. Now twenty years after their last effort Surface, the band are back on the same label, entering the fray in a Death Metal world which has wildly developed since the mid-90s.
To be completely expected, Morta Skuld have literally picked up where they left off delivering (what is now 'old-school') slabs of pure Death Metal which doesn't rely constantly on playing as fast as humanly possible, instead inserting swathes of menacing sludgy riffs that make you want to head bang your way through the nearest wall. A perfect example of this on the record comes with probably the standout track In Judgment which seamlessly sees the band transition between mind bending pace to absolutely savage heavy riffs. Huge shout out to drummer Eric House who's powerful delivery and style drives everything forward not only on this track but the album as a whole. Another real highlight comes in the title track which certainly sounds chaotic enough but needless to say, they haven't set out to reinvent the wheel in any way, but with this being their first record after such a long period of time it'd be strange to expect that they would have returned with something completely different.
With the fact that this whole sub-genre has expanded so much since their last run with different bits sprouting off all over the place it does make this record feel a little dated. That isn't to say it isn't a strong effort, because in all honestly Morta Skuld are one of the better bands doing this old school style of Death Metal, but as a whole the record doesn't do a lot to encourage repeat listens. It's a solid album but that's pretty much it really.