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Mortification - "Break The Curse 1990-2010 (20th Anniversary Gold Edition)" (CD)

Mortification - "Break The Curse 1990-2010 (20th Anniversary Gold Edition)" CD cover image

"Break The Curse 1990-2010 (20th Anniversary Gold Edition)" track listing:

1. Blood Sacrifice (3:37)
2. Brutal Warfare (4:02)
3. Impulsation (4:30)
4. Turn (0:57)
5. New Beginnings (2:37)
6. Break the Curse (2:38)
7. Illusion of Life (4:56)
8. Your Last Breath (3:25)
9. Journey of Reconciliation (4:27)
10. The Majestic Infiltration of Order (1:08)
11. Time Crusaders (Studio Version) (4:44)
12. Eyes Of Destruction (1987 Lightforce Recording) (5:38)
13. Envision A Beginning/Buried In Obscurity (5:34)
14. Steve Talks/Noah Was A Knower (4:08)
15. Interview With Steve (10:52)

Reviewed by on July 9, 2010

"...like all Mortification releases, they will eternally be under the shadow of the fabled 'Scrolls Of The Megilloth' album, one in which they finally grasped the level of brutality needed to stand out in the bustling extreme metal landscape."

When it comes to Christian metal, there are a few names always seem to arise as those that actually made a dent on the scene musically - Trouble, Believer, Stryper and notably, Mortification. If being a Christian band wasn't enough to have them stick out in the extreme metal scene, they came from the decidedly un-metal continent of Australia too. However before their breakthrough efforts were released they were a band transforming from Lightforce, a power/thrash incarnation of the band that birthed the material for Mortification's first demo "Break The Curse."

Unfortunately, like all Mortification releases, they will eternally be under the shadow of the fabled "Scrolls Of The Megilloth" album, one in which they finally grasped the level of brutality needed to stand out in the bustling extreme metal landscape. This demo, on the other hand, shows that the band was in a painful transformation to death metal, attempting to copy the brutality of larger acts like Napalm Death.

The vocals straddle the classic death/thrash line, and aren't too bad if you enjoy Sodom-styled rasping over grunts. The band scores some points for having some interesting bass lines that are pushed up in the mix, but, like a lot of early bands, don't have the extreme drumming that emerged with bands like Morbid Angel to push the speed and replace the standard thrash fare. When compared to other underground death thrash albums that preceded this release by a few years, such as Infernal Majesty's "None Shall Defy" or Morbid Saint's "Spectrum Of Death," it falls far short in aggression and songwriting – never bad, but never anything that interesting either.

It seems a common string to pick apart the lyrics of Christian bands, especially ones so fervently proselytizing, but I've always had the mantra that as long as it's heartfelt you can sing about a sandwich and I'll listen to it. No points lost for Jesus here.

Being a reissue, you also get a bunch of bonus tracks from the period, interviews and a DVD of the band's first concert under the name Mortification. If you're looking to relive the glory days of emerging Aussie metal, then the DVD will provide some interest, otherwise just note there's a reason why people you normally only hear about their "Scrolls Of The Megilloth" album in the metal underground.

Highs: Strong roots in classic genres - power, thrash and death metal.

Lows: The songs are too derivative of their peers to stand out against the classics.

Bottom line: Not bad, not great, but an interesting relic for Mortification fans.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)