Morbid Saint
Swallowed by Hell

Wisconsin’s thrash metal band Morbid Saint were around in the 80’s-early 90’s before they disbanded and then reformed in 2010.  The band’s rise in popularity was bolstered in 2016, thanks to the 2CD reissue/remaster of the band’s 1990 classic debut Spectrum of Death, and their 1992 follow-up Destruction System, which was never released until 2015. The sound and presentation of those deluxe 2CD reissues are exceptional and the band has been dormant, other than playing fests here and there finally we have the long overdue third album Swallowed by Hell.

With three of the members, from the classic line-up returning: Pat Lind on vox, Jim Fergades/Jay Visser – guitars you cannot go wrong.  Throw in Bob Zabel on bass and DJ Bagemehl on drums and you know the band has not missed a step.  I would always lump Morbid Saint into somewhat of the Sadus thrash metal category, whereas, the thrash can become pretty extreme and teetering a bit on the death metal side, but not so much that I would call them death/thrash.  The fact that Pat returns on vocals is huge because I cannot imagine Morbid Saint without his signature raspy and intense vocals.  One only needs to look at the album cover of the metalhead lopping heads and bodies in half to realize Morbid Saint is back to brutalize us with another heaping of brutal thrash metal.

“Rise from the Ashes” begins without an intro and immediately gets into the metal with a nice fast galloping speed and Lind’s vocals sound scorching.  Intense double bass over the 40-second mark, shows there is an added intensity herein.  The guitar riffing is razor-sharp and will slice and dice your head in half.  Excellent guitar solos and some growls and the double bass at the two-minute mark is stupid fast.  Triggered I would assume – they sound too perfect.  This opening song has so many fist-banging mania moments which are enough to collapse skulls in 0.0 seconds.

Hey let’s skip around a bit.  If you have a song titled “Fuck Them All”, I am all about talking about that and it’s the longest song on the album at 5.36 minutes.  The song has a nice gallop, not as fast as the opening song, but it thrashes pretty awesome.  There are some excellent slowdowns on this song.  Excellent rhythm section on this song, with some cool drum rolls and excellent raspy vocals.

“Burn Pit” opens with excellent guitar melodies.  The scorching vocal choruses accompany the heavy thrash metal great and this has a lot of catchy guitar riffing this song is pretty darn heavy and there are some definite nods to classic Slayer with some of the guitar tone, therefore I appreciate this song very much.  I love how the song title is shouted multiple times and then we get the sounds of burning embers at various points to add to the ambience and atmosphere of the song.  Don’t sleep on the title track which has the catchiest guitar riffing, on the entire album.  The main riff is embedded in my cerebellum.

“Fear Incarnate” messed me up while listening to this song when I was driving to work.  The intro sounds like a post-apocalyptic situation taking place in a city and there are various sounds of people screaming, noises and cars honking their horns.  On my car stereo, I thought people were honking their horns at me, that is how real the sounds were.  So before I started rolling down my window and flipping everyone off I payed closer attention to the song and restarted it from the beginning and I was like, Morbid Saint – you clever bastards!  This song has some heavier and slower grooves which capture the heaviness more.  The song gets into a higher velocity speed, towards the end with some chaotic guitar soloing going on – a truly vicious number.

Swallowed by Hell is the best-sounding Morbid Saint album to date and harnesses the classic sound of the band, which garnered them a cult underground following, after their 1990 classic debut.  I love this album – it’s excellent well-played thrash metal, with a penchant for heaviness and catchiness.  The signature trademarks are all there and Morbid Saint – Welcome Back to Hell – this album rules!

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
February 27th, 2024

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