Mortal Decay
Sickening Erotic Fanaticism (Reissue)

New Jawsey’s finest brutal technical death metal act, and friends, Mortal Decay have been around for over 3 decades.  Insanity!  I have many fond memories playing shows with them and when I was back with Internal Bleeding in 2018 Johnny and Joe came to the show and had printed me a Mortal Decay logo shirt-so nice.  I wore the fuck outta that on our Canadian run, and that’s a special shirt for me, because of the generosity of the gents.

Sickening Erotic Fanaticism was MDK’s first actual album after releasing some of the best death metal demos in existence with vocalist Johnny Paoline.  John is still in the band now and was on the second album, in 2002 – the ungodly Forensic, but he was in and out at various times.  So for the first album enter in Kelly Izquierdo who had been the singer for NYDM band Deathrune.  Kelly has always been a dear friend and we played many shows together and did backing vocals together on the second Immortal Suffering demo Eternal Damnation, as well as having him do backing vocals on “Inhuman Suffering” off Voracious Contempt, my debut album with IB.  Kelly and John’s vocals are quite different.  John has more of the guttural, frog-croaking style with screams.  Kelly is more mid-range and some higher screams.  Regardless of that fact, I love both their styles.  Dissonant Tapes have reissued Sickening Erotic Fanaticism and I will go into detail, later on about the reissue.  For now I want to concentrate on the album, in the event you have never heard it.

1997 saw a shift in the death metal scene.  We released our second album, The Extinction of Benevolence, while other bands were getting a little less heavy and or shifting their style, not us and definitely not Mortal Decay.  It was quite common in the 90’s to release your first album with a lot of your prior demos songs reworked and revamped.  So for the debut, MDK poached a number of songs from their second and third demos, Grisly Aftermath and Brutalizing Creations.  Out of the 10 song album, 6 were from the demos.  Opening the album with 2 brand new songs was a smart choice and “Decomposed with Nitric Acid” burst right out of the starting gate with the Holy Shit moment with the isolated guitar sound and right into a blast with a nice barking growl from Kelly.  Very powerful!  The band was rounded out by: Anthony Ipri on drums, Joe Gordon / John Hartman guitars and  Ron Steinhauer bass.  The signature weird yet always catchy guitar riffs were still in place and this song has pinch harmonics that are so razor sharp, when played even at the lowest volume, has been known to collapse people’s bodies in 0.0 seconds – no joke.  The variety of tempo shifts, slams, throaty growls and screams, with bludgeoning drums, was and still is some of the best death metal known to mankind.

The title track, has always been one of my fave MDK songs and the sound is very similar to the songs on Brutalizing Creations with the songwriting and overall sound.  The opening riff is just pretty damn killer, always has been.  Massive blasting and the start and stop moments at the 2.30 part and then right into the groove Kelly let’s out a killer scream then the song gallops back into a blast.  Then right into an atmospheric melodic part.  Very creative, and the well-placed guitar solos are even a bit ethereal..but still having that creepy MDK vibe.  The reworked demo songs stay true to the originals.  Minor, negligible differences-the main being, of course Kelly singing on them.  His mid-range vocals and varying screams still connected quite well on the tunes.

My favorite all time MDK song is “Apparitions”, off Brutalizing Creations.  Kelly hits it outta the park, especially with the opening growl.  One of my favorite, still to this day, moment in all of death metal is the 1.37 break during this track.  Drums stop, the isolated guitar riff comes in and then the lyrics:  “Apparitions of Christ”..then the “huh” growl…Kelly does a really nice job with this section.

Several years back Kelly came back to MDK for a short run and the band did a split with Defeated Sanity.  “Post-Anatomical Savagery” was the new MDK song and it did not disappoint.  The song still retained that 90’s sound and the massive blasts on this track really makes this one of the more brutal MDK songs, imo.  Tempo shifts galore and, while the song, was a little rougher around the production side of things, it really did not matter to me.  It’s a damn nice song.

Andrew Sutton, from Dissonant Tapes, has been doing some great reissues.  Look out for the Voracious Contempt reissue about to drop in the Spring.  Pervelis and I contributed with a lot of things you will find in the packed booklet.  Andrew is making a name for himself with reissues, imo.  First and foremost the alternate artwork for Sickening Erotic Fanaticism adorns the front of the booklet.  The booklet is packed with the original released artwork in 1997, the split with Defeated Sanity cover is included, lyrics, pics, and the booklet is beautifully designed.  As previously mentioned, the bonus song is included and Andrew even tinkered with the sound a bit.  So the album received an upgrade with the remaster.  The overall sound is crisper and I am happy he went this route with the remaster.

Sickening Erotic Fanaticism was/is an important album for Mortal Decay.  Although the band had garnered an underground following, the album put the band on the map and then a bajillion MDK clones continued.  Some great bands too, however, nothing in comparison to MDK’s creepy, weird, technical, and at times, dissonant brand of east coast American Death Metal.  This is an outstanding reissue – Buy or Die or your ass will be Soaking in Entrails!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
February 12th, 2023

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