Genre: Death Metal | Label: Dark Descent Records
Location: New Orleans, LA, USA | Listen: Bandcamp
Five years ago, and when they were based in Montgomery, death metal mongers Grave Ritual released their debut album, “Euphoric Hymns from the Altar of Death.” Prior to that, they released a handful of splits and demos under the moniker Meathole Infection. After five years of silence, the band has relocated to New Orleans, and have released their most punishing slab of death metal to date. “Morbid Throne” combines massive death metal hooks with a clear-yet-suffocating sound, making this album a clear winner.
Grave Ritual’s main appeal has always been the quality of their riffs. Not only are they dark and evil, but they manage to make a lot of catchy riffs. While some bands might only have one “big riff” per song, Grave Ritual delivers riff after riff of proper death metal. Even when they were known as Meathole Infection, these guys churned out some proper riffs. “Morbid Throne” continues this trend flawlessly.
Most of the songs on this album are around the three minute mark, which means there really is no time for filler. The band pushes a variety of musical feels with each song, further cementing an identity for each track. The opening track does a great job kicking off the album with some mid paced riffing and desolate lead playing. For those who’ve been following the band’s progress since the Meathole Infection days, some of these songs may sound familiar. “Baleful Aversion” is a reworking of “Satan’s Supper” from the split with Violent Gorge, and “Adversary Crown” is “The Stench of Rot” from the split with Necrovorous. There may be a couple more re-recordings that I’m not aware of, but either way, these old songs (with new lyrics) sound better than ever and show that Grave Ritual are serious death metal worshipers.
As I mentioned earlier, the production of “Morbid Throne” is definitely the best that Grave Ritual’s ever had. The guitar tone is very well balanced. It’s heavy, but it cuts like a fresh razor blade through flesh. The drums sound nice and thick, and don’t have any unnatural tones. Dan Lowndes (of Cruciamentum) mixed and mastered this record, and his work always manages to create a thick sound without being too murky.
Although Grave Ritual clearly has the Incantation influence in their sound, they don’t sound like a clone band to me. To me, it’s just proper old school death metal that wastes no time. I hear some other influences seeping in, such as Carcass in the way they build up and break down riff segments. Overall, this is a fantastic death metal LP with no frills, just riffs soaked in evil with deathly vocals roaring over top.