Morbid Saint
Spectrum of Death (Reissue)

Well this was quite a pleasant surprise a few months ago when Century Media announced they had secured the rights to the cult death/thrashers material and working in conjunction with Morbid Saint would release a deluxe discography, compiling all of the band’s released material onto 2 cds. The last reissue, the band released themselves, on a cd-r, so to have this real deluxe reissue was music to my bloody ears.  Slinging burgers and kicking back and drinking a case of Schlitz every now and again, in the mid-west, Morbid Saint began their terror in the late 80’s.  Combining the frenzied thrash of the first 2 Kreator albums and mixing in some Slayer, Dark Angel and Exodus, Morbid Saint would go on to release one of the best releases, that was relegated to the lower tier of cult death/thrash, namely Spectrum of Death.  Just hearing Patrick Lind’s raspy death snarl if you close your eyes he sounded like Mille from Kreator, to a T.  Spectrum of Death, over the years, garnered more of a cult following as time went on and especially after the band broke up in the 90’s and you could not find the album anywhere, except for on ebay, fetching like a bajillion dollars.

Spectrum of Death is unbridled and frenzied death/thrash aggression that also, maybe not the tightest music, still to this day, sounds incredibly fresh.  Every song a damn classic.  “Assassin” is spectacular with the slow groove that picks up the pace with a speed that was quite commonplace at the time it was released, in 1990, and that today would be considered a classic death/thrash beat.  Also some incredibly well done bass guitar strumming going on.  Let’s not forget this album was also produced by Eric Greif, who was the manager for Death.  Another key point worth mentioning is this album was one of the best produced death/thrash albums at that time, with a production 1/2 the cost of the bigger named acts, at the time, yet sounding much better than those albums.  The double bass drums also were incredibly organic, natural and added to the layers of heaviness.  Spectrum of Death was originally called Lock up your Children, but was eventually changed.  “Beyond the Gates of Hell”, with the cool drum intro ripping into a Kerry King like guitar solo with punishing double bass at rumbling mid paced bone crushing speed was enough to have cities collapse worldwide and cause riots.  The insanely catchy guitar riff at the 1.10 part with the guitar melody and ripping vocals is some of the most classic well done death metal moments for that time period, as well as in general.  Also on the first disc is The Black Tape ’92, which contains songs that would eventually make up the second Morbid Saint album, which was never officially released until  2015.

Disc 2 is the Destruction System album, so while it was recorded, soon after Spectrum of Death, really is just as awesome as the debut album.  Destruction System also had a more prominent bass guitar sound on it and really added even more bottom end to the rhythm section.  May have had something to do with Gary Beimel on bass, who replaced Tony Paletti, from Spectrum of Death.  “Living Misery” is definitely a highlight, for me.  The killer beginning drums, double bass, before going into what would become known as the Morbid Saint killer face melting groove section.  The title track is also one of the finest songs Morbid Saint.  Brutal, catchy, awesome vocals/chorus and beginning of the tune, has an industrial feel to it-incredible.  Destruction System was also tighter, musically, but I still could never figure out which I liked better.  So chalk the motherfucker up to a tie.  Rounding out disc 2 are 4 songs recorded between 2010-2011.   Incredible material, for a band who just reformed, around that time.  It would be a shame if Morbid Saint never records another album, since these guys still have the goods to deliver, and these 4 songs, which I had never heard before, are godly.

Under the watchful remastering eye of Patrick W. Engel, all the material has been brightened up a bit, restored, made louder, but never detracting from the original killer recordings.  This guy rocks and has been responsible for remastering much of Century Media’s reissues, over the years.  He is one of the best out there in preserving the original recording sounds, but remastering them so that the true nuances, that may have been buried, in the past, are resurrected to deliver some much needed punishment.   Century Media did a nice job with a huge booklet with vintage photos, flyers, lyrics and updated interview & added pics/photos under the cd trays.  Incredible read and you will learn a lot about Morbid Saint and see the various incarnations of their band logo too.  I would have liked them to include the cover art of Destructive System; but that was left out.  Also the digipak front cover of Spectrum of Death, I think I may have preferred to have the album cover not being glued on separate paper and then coated with the special clear protectarent, and placed on the digipak.  Over time this separate piece of material could come unglued, it should have just been the entire front of the digipak, as the cover.  This front cover, while looking exceptional, still, the layout was rushed.  Also; c’mon Century Media next time you include a sticker on the front of a reissue, can you make it larger?  This is like the smallest fuckin reissue sticker I have ever seen & I had to take my goddamned readers out to read it, lol.

Folks, this limited run pressing of Morbid Saint’s material is what you need and should own.  I imagine maybe 1000, possibly 2000 of these are being pressed.  So this is the edition you must have.  Despite some of my minor quibbling about certain cosmetic aspects of this, this is the best reissue for 2016, nothing will top it.  Excellent and very respectful to Morbid Saint, one of the best and criminally overlooked death/thrash bands ever.

 

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
April 13th, 2016

Comments

  1. Commented by: AR

    Spot on review, Frank. This band never got the exposure they deserved, and while those of us that know this band LOVED Spectrum of Death, I have to agree that Destruction System is just as good.


  2. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    Jesus, the drums on Crying For Death are outrageous. wow.


  3. Commented by: Frini

    Thanks for reading!! Thanks AR, just a killer band!! \m/


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