Album Review: Mortal Wound – The Anus of the World

Album Review: Mortal Wound - Anus of the World

Album Review: Mortal Wound - The Anus of the World
Reviewed by Sam Jones

I’ve been following Mortal Wound for some time now and when I heard they’d finally release their first full length work, titled The Anus Of The World, I was overjoyed and knew I had to give it a listen. Formed in 2018 out of California, United States, the band have risen to promise online with their earliest released material, the first of which being their 2018 Demo, Forms Of Unreasoning Fear, succeeded for some years only by their 2020 Split with Australian band Gutless (who I deeply recommend also). Now, four years later, the band finally unleash their hard worked upon full length album, the aforementioned The Anus Of The World, poised for a May 24th release date and through Me Saco Un Ojo Records no less. With Kommand’s vocalist equally at the helm, this is set to be one ruthless record, and so we dive in to see what Mortal Wound have planned for us.

Whilst many death metal bands opt for speed and use that to guarantee effective impact, Mortal Wound instead go for a steadier, chunkier approach to songwriting. Though their songwriting consists of fast playing, and an inherent power behind it, it’s much slower and more methodical than you’re immediately expecting. Yes, there are blast beats and all the fast strumming you’d desire but their rhythm feels like it’s walking alongside your journey through the record as opposed to racing far ahead. As a result, there’s little you’ll miss the first time round with this record but, conversely, it’ll allow you to receive the full brunt of Mortal Wound’s assault without feeling like you’ve probably missed something along the way. Repeated listens therefore no longer become a necessity but a desired want, fuelled by the audience’s own wish to return to The Anus Of The World, because they understand everything the record possesses. It enables every turn of the riff, each guttural bellow of the vocals, time to meander its way into position for what the songwriting needs, and its deliciously brutal.

The vocal style herein is absolutely guttural, to the point where syllables and words lose any concept of intelligibility. However, coupled with their songwriting and performance entailed, you won’t care you can’t make out a word that’s being said since riff and vocals meld together seamlessly, crafting a record that doesn’t only sound barbaric but oozes such a sentiment too. How their vocalist is able to maintain such a depth of vocal delivery for the full album I don’t know, but he’s evidently honed it over many years as this bellowing isn’t achieved overnight. Moreover, as he’s performing, you can pick up on his ability to control how much power he exerts and, more importantly, his capacity to maintain his vocals throughout the songwriting for they’re rather prevalent and certainly take up a good portion of your attention. It’s worth acknowledging too that though this is a brutal vocal style to use, I never felt like the band were becoming strenuous on my senses and I could always push on ahead to the next track without difficulty or needing to recover my breath. That’s even with the type of vocals they use which, here, don’t exactly shy away from their guttural tone.

Album Review: Mortal Wound - The Anus of the World

An underdog of the record surely belongs to the bass, collectively with the bass drums, because they form an essential crux by which the record propels ahead. Since the record is steadier than most works, and therefore your attention is going to pick up on smaller niceties faster records would able to gloss over, the band needed a bass presence to give weight to the record’s underlayer. They do this by near enough merging the bass guitar and bass drums together, yet still separating them enough within the mix so we can still enjoy them equally enough. Overall, the bass guitar may not be that audible but there are select moments where its importance shoots out dramatically, where we gain an understanding of just how crucial it becomes to this album. The bass drums are likewise imperative to our experience of the record since they provide a more rolling, thunderous aesthetic to the album, establishing a bass that doesn’t merely ebb and flow like a wave but can produce great tidal fluctuations. It’s these implementations that give The Anus Of The World its rocking, swaying strength; a strength solidified foremost by the riffs.

Throughout the record, Mortal Wound propagate their record with numerous audio clips; these can be horror samples, atmospheric pieces, but many of them are sound bites from movies which brings their Mortician influence into full view. I can happily say that the record still stands on its own two feet and doesn’t use the inclusion of these clips as a crutch, but it’s undeniable it helps form the shape of the record that we’ll remember going forward into future listens. The aim of the game is still death metal and songwriting, so these horror samples are merely another tool the band wished to use. I think it’s really interesting that Mortal Wound used them not merely as track openers or closers, but as integral stopping points in the record to give the sense of structure to it. There are one or two tracks here that are completely devoted to the samples, some are brief and some are longer, but it enables the band to break up the malice they’re inflicting upon us without losing any sense of flow or atmosphere. It’s a clever tactic and continuously instils that immersion into us, even when not a single conventional element of a band’s performance is being utilised.

In conclusion, Mortal Wound’s first full length album is a triumphant release for the band, having been around for a number of years whilst their peers release their own first records. The Anus Of The World is a record that fits right in with the calibre other death metal acts today release in their first full length, however there’s something unique here that, although it’s deeply familiar, still stems it far enough away from the slew of other modern death metal releases to warrant it its own identity. The methodical playing where everything has its own deliberate purpose, the steadier rhythm by which we follow the band’s pacing, the Mortician-styled horror and movie samples etc, it all binds together to craft an album that excellently introduces Mortal Wound to fresh audiences. I’d be really interested to see where Mortal Wound go next and, besides, the world always needs more death metal. I personally believe we’re in the golden age of death metal and Mortal Wound are yet another band to add to that roster. An excellent, pummelling record.

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