Genre: Death Metal | Label: Grind Core International
Location: Chicago, IL | Listen: YouTube
Formed in the Chicago area in 1990, Morgue’s first and only album was released on underground label Grind Core International. Although they were from the mid-west, their sound fused European flair together with the unhinged American brutality common among their label mates. 1993 was near the end of death metal’s golden era, so it’s easy for this one to fall through the cracks. Upon revisiting this record after many years, I’ve really found myself sinking my teeth into it more than I had in the past. A lethal combination of riffs and overall maniacal performance makes Morgue’s sole record worth hearing for any death metal fan.
Morgue waste no time, diving into a Pestilence style death/thrash riff to start the album off, and then immediately jump into some tremolos and blast beats. They also show some thoughtful fretwork between the two guitarists, layering in octaves on some riff tails. The song breaks down to an Autopsy-esque death/doom part with a tasteful solo. The variety of riffing and feels flow into each other with ease, and that sets the table quite well for the rest of the record.
There’s definitely some typical mid-western mid-paced death metal parts that can be compared to fellow Chicagoans Cianide, alongside some of the slower riffs. “Random Decay” puts this on full display as it chugs and crawls, demolishing all with its heaviness. Again, they pull out some more Autopsy influence with the melodic approach during these slow sections. Despite all the doom, the drums keep the energy frantic as it goes on, throwing in a lot of quick drum fills.
For its time and place, “Eroded Thoughts” has great production. It’s not gassy sounding as a lot of mid-western death metal tends to be, and is honestly one of the better sounding records on the Grind Core roster that I’ve heard. Being the early 90’s, there’s definitely a lot of compression on the drums, but it sounds like what you’d want in a death metal record. The kicks are really up front, the snare snaps nice, and the toms crush. The guitar tones are decent enough, and the bass isn’t really up front but can be found filling in that bottom end pretty well. The lead tones are great, and really showcase those guitar chops.
There’s some fine lead playing here, which again can lend itself to that European flair. “Plagued Birth” really pushes this on both the solos and its frantic riffing. There’s some cool phaser effects that pop up on that song too that could very well be on a Death record. After delivering a cut throat ripper, they serve up the album’s longest track, “Severe Psychopathology,” which builds from a death/doom crawl up to an apex of death/thrash speeds.
“Eroded Thoughts” is just over half an hour long, and it manages to cover a lot of ground in its 7 tracks. There’s some straight ahead brutality, but there’s also some more complex songs that show off the band’s musical prowess. By no means does this cover any ground that hasn’t been covered in death metal by 1993, but it is well executed and has plenty of varied riffs to sink your teeth into. Perhaps this band could’ve had more recognition had they put out some more records, but at least their only album is a certified crusher. The diversity of riff styles and tempo changes spearheaded by a savage death metal approach makes this one worth seeking out.