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Mortis Cruentus - "Agony As Doom" (CD)

Mortis Cruentus - "Agony As Doom" CD cover image

"Agony As Doom" track listing:

1. Intro
2. Agony As Doom
3. Winter Holocaust
4. Flesh Hunter
5. After Dusk
6. Interlude
7. Omaha
8. Mortis Cruentus
9. Maid of the Mist
10. Black Dreams
11. Blood of your Sacrifices
12. Between Blood and War

Reviewed by on February 6, 2011

"'Agony As Doom' in its entirety shows that these Spaniards are decent and capable musicians, but they definitely need more time together to write more cohesive material. "

Having self-produced their first album "Agony As Doom," Mortis Cruentus have already made a name for themselves in their native Spain. Musically, they have a style that is probably best described as blackened thrash metal, combining elements of the more extreme genres. When all is said and done, how does this first offering fare? "Agony As Doom" in its entirety shows that these Spaniards are decent and capable musicians, but they definitely need more time together to write more cohesive material.

After a brief sound-bite intro, the title cut lays the groundwork for what will be mostly an album of redundancy. The title cut is like many others, loaded with thrashing leads that pay homage to black metal in the arrangement of the song. Vocalist Juan Pedro Lopez Frutos alternates between two styles of singing; subhuman growls that gives way to ear-piercing shrieks and trades between the two during the course of the album, which can be grating. The eponymous track "Mortis Cruentus" is a mid-paced venture with a decent beat that changes up enough during the song.

"Flesh Hunter" goes from typical black metal leads into a stampeding riff, which gives the song good drive, while "Omaha" pillages through with a faster beat and good heavier leads. Aside from instrumental tracks like "Interlude," most of the songs implode by lack of distinction from each other. The tracks fail to engage the listener as they are not well thought out and their arranging is slipshod.

Listening to "Blood of Your Sacrifices" or several other songs, you get that feeling that Mortis Cruentus is just going through the motions. How many times can a song have practically the same formulaic black metal leads that give way to similar interludes, growling and shrieking? "Maid of the Mist" is yet another long homogenous excursion - technically adept, but bereft of any personality. The riffs are inserted predictably along with random drum blasts and vocals, resulting in yet another song missing that certain extra something to make it memorable.

Mortis Cruentus need to develop and diversify their sound and material in order to attract notice. "Agony As Doom" shows that they have the ability in terms of accomplished playing, but just don't achieve anything memorable when the elements mesh. The tracks on this CD ultimately lack motion and one might find themselves fast forwarding or skipping to the next song out of ennui.

Highs: Capable black/thrash metal from these up-and-coming Spaniards.

Lows: Lack of distinctive songwriting in tracks that emulate each other.

Bottom line: Black metal aficionados may enjoy this.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

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)