Realm of the Skelataur
For what has been dubbed their final release, Mortification, led by bassist/vocalist and founding member Steve Rowe have delivered an album of solid uncompromising Metal glory. For long time fans, be forewarned this is not the album most of you were hoping for. As some have insinuated, this could be the follow up to the band's eponymous Scrolls of the Megilloth release but sadly it is not. Not that Realm of the Skelataur is a bad album by any means but it is not the classic Mortification that we'd hoped for.
If it were to be judged as a standalone album it is well worth the investment as it contains eleven blistering cuts of Molten Thrash/Death Metal that commands respect if purely for initiative. Steve Row has, since the departure of original guitarist Michael Carlisle and drummer Jayson Sherlock, been a hit and miss act. Always the one to experiment with sounds there has been little consistency in the later years of the band. This time around Steve has opted to bring forth a hybrid vocal delivery that is a little growl with a little tone for me personally I'm just not sure I am feeling it. If this were a different band it might be ok, but knowing what Steve has been capable of in the past, I am left with a sense of him lacking his full potential. The production is a bit thin, and as many of his lyrical concepts have been over the years these tend to come across as a tad immature. Songs such as the title track (which boasts a fairly annoying high pitched vocal screech), "Feed Your Hungry Ears", and "Slaughter Demon Heads" are just silly. However, the opening song "The Cost" is a great tune about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was martyred for his faith during WWII in Nazi Germany. "Extrinsick Forces" and "Enrapture" are both powerful statements both musically and lyrically, while "Our Anthem" sounds a little too much like a lost track from the Post Momentary Affliction album.
I know that Steve Rowe and company put a lot of effort into this album hoping to end their career on a high note. The album has some truly great moments and guitarist Lincoln Bowen is a monster riff master. According to the liner notes there was also a silent partner in the writing process identified only as "The Thrashing Death Master" and said by Steve to not be any former member of the band. I still believe Steve has at least one more great offering in him and I hope to hear it in the future. I, myself, just can't accept this as their final statement.