Morbid Breath
In the Hand of The Reaper EP

No frills, no fuss, lots of fuzz.

In short, that’s basically what you’re getting from Morbid Breath’s new EP In the Hand of The Reaper. Simple, effective, thrashy Death Metal riffs and super fuzzy bass backbone, over simple, solid rhythms, and some raspy, growly vocals. Classic Swedish Death Metal 101.

If this all seems like a complaint or criticism, I assure you it is not. As our friend J Mays recently quoted, “competent, well played Death Metal never goes out of style.” Indeed! Despite only having 5 tracks on display, there’s still plenty of fun, memorable riffs here to make even the more discerning of metal fans bang their head and bring a little smile to their faces. After a fairly straightforward but fun first half of opening track “Ancient Beast,” the band launches into a neat thrashy bridge backed by that super buzzy bass tone that stands as the band’s defining character, before breaking out some sweet, swing-y Death n’ Roll soloing that sounds just as good now as it ever did in the early 90s. The whole package is a nice middle ground between Kill ‘Em All Metallica riffs and Wolverine Bluesera Entombed rumble, the comparison becoming even more clear on second track “Beneath The Graves,” with it’s more mid-paced “Seek and Destroy”-like gait delivered with a dirtier, HM-2-flavored goodness.

Some of the band’s thrashier elements make themselves better known on the back half of the EP, with “Hellbringer” and “In The Hand of The Reaper” kicking the speed up a notch and leaning more into Vader/Kreator Eurothrash vibes, the last minute or so of the former being on of the strongest standout stretches on the album. Some simple, but very effective hardcore-influenced drums rumble beneath harmonized, chugging riffs before going into another solid solo and returning back to the song’s original thrash attack. Nothing earth-shattering, but well done and thoroughly enjoyable. The band rounds out the album following the same basic formula on the title track, providing a solid exit.

Admittedly, this EP probably benefits from being just that – a few more songs and this thing might have grown a little stale and repetitive. As it is, it’s a fun, dependable little foray into some classic sounds that are always welcome to these ears. Beyond that, the band has also created a super appealing classic occult aesthetic for itself (tell me that album cover isn’t a thing of beauty) that, in and of itself, will draw a lot of eyeballs and get people to pay attention. I hope by the time these dudes gets around to recording a full-length, they’ve sprinkled in a little more depth to their sound to avoid becoming too predictable over the long haul, but I’m confident they’ve got the creative chops to make a name for themselves.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
May 7th, 2021

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