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Mr. Death - "Detached From Life" (CD)

Mr. Death - "Detached From Life" CD cover image

"Detached From Life" track listing:

1. Suffer (3:26)
2. Fin (3:36)
3. A Dying God (2:49)
4. Evil Undisputed (2:44)
5. Muse of Chaos (1:58)
6. Combined Anatomy (3:40)
7. Misery's Womb (2:33)
8. Denied The Will To Live (2:31)
9. Death Vs. The Living Dead (2:24)
10. The Storm (3:15)
11. Black Blood (2:35)

Reviewed by on December 31, 2009

"'Detached From Life' is the type of album that will salivate the mouths of rapid death metal fans, but brings absolutely nothing new to the big picture."

Wearing black suits and grimy face paint, Swedish death metal quintet Mr. Death could be initially portrayed as nothing more than a gimmick embracing their love for gore/zombie films (the band cites classic horror directors George A. Romero, Lucio Fulci, and Dario Argento as influences on their MySpace page). The lyrics speak of the undead and their simplistic sound harkens back to the days where Cannibal Corpse and Deicide ruled supreme. Their debut, “Detached From Life,” is no-frills death metal that does an adequate job of relaying a brutal and hostile atmosphere.

While highly unoriginal, Mr. Death gets by on riffs alone. They don’t vary much throughout each song; however, as the backbone of “Detached From Life,” the riffs are able to keep the songs carefully constructed and direct. The album stays at a blazing pace, only slowing down for a momentary reprieve, usually in the form of a breakdown. The songwriting is stuck in a time warp, sounding like one of the hundreds of faceless bands that tried to squeeze the juice from the death metal lemon that ripened in the early 90s. No guitar leads, no clear experimentation (save for some brief movie samples), and no stab at any modern idiosyncrasies.

The band’s stubbornness to conform to present-day trends works both ways. Songs like “Suffer” and “A Dying God” have a nostalgic temperament stripped to the essence of the genre. The album is largely predictable on the musical front, but the melodies are catchy enough to stand out. The rhythm section stand out, with a looming bass presence and punchy drum work that outperforms the steady, if plain, guitar playing. The songs are around the three-minute mark, with “Combined Anatomy” the only true plodding beast to be found.

This gung-ho attitude makes for a breezy play-through, though it also lends a hand to the simple dullness the album gives off. Every song is almost an exact replica; sure, there are different riffs and slower harmonies on occasion, but this is death metal at its most stripped-down. The growls are harsh, the guitars are punishing, and chaos is abound, but it all feels like familiar territory; a stroll down memory lane, to a time where this type of sound was fresh and noteworthy. Mr. Death may have an original concept and image, but their music is far from innovative.

“Detached From Life” is the type of album that will salivate the mouths of rapid death metal fans, but brings absolutely nothing new to the big picture. Competent death metal can only get a band so far, and Mr. Death milks this practice dry by the time the last guitar note from “Black Blood” fades into nothingness. A gimmick isn’t everything, and in the case of “Detached From Life,” it’s the only captivating part of what is otherwise a bland debut album.

Highs: Throwback to early 90s death metal, solid rhythm section, brutal riffs

Lows: Dull sound, a little too similar to Cannibal Corpse at times, no real innovation or stand-out moments to be found.

Bottom line: An unspectacular debut that has the classic death metal feel down, but lacks any originality.

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)