Every now and again it's nice to come across a band that sounds like an instant classic. It's not always necessary to reinvent the wheel to be memorable, and Los Angeles' Mortal Wound prove that in just twenty-four short minutes. Having only released their demo Forms of Unreasoning Fear (via Maggot Stomp Records), Mortal Wound burst out into the death metal world in 2018 like a Neanderthalic club to the face.
It becomes instantly apparent with the opening riff of "Grotesque Head" what Mortal Wound are all about; club-swinging caveman jams, no frills, no glam, no tech, just head-smashing old school brutal death metal. An Australopithecan audio assault, if you're into the whole alliteration thing. There's something extra special about Mortal Wound; every riff played on this demo rings of familiarity, sounding instantly classic while also fresh and unique. I kept asking myself how no one had written riffs like this yet. Each song has its own melodic theme and identity while still maintaining the same aesthetic of crushing, hopeless death.
Full disclosure, I am a sucker for anything from Maggot Stomp, which will become very apparent over time. It's really fun watching the pendulum of heavy metal culture swing from the techy/glammy side of things back to the miasmic, sludgy cave of brutality. Don't get me wrong, I love the ultra-tech stuff, but it reached critical mass in the last few years. Technical guitar wankery became standard of the mid-2010's, ushered in by legends like Necrophagist, and ultimately jumped the shark recently with the weedly-woo-doodle-bop guitar riffs of acts like Rings of Saturn. The era of the caveman has returned with a vengeance and it's been a long time coming.
My personal favorite tracks from Forms of Unreasoning Fear are "Iron Age Virility" and "Riddled with Parasites," the latter of which was recently featured in Mortal Wound's first music video. If you enjoy old school death metal, do not ignore Mortal Wound.
RIYL: OSDM a la Obituary & Cannibal Corpse