"Sleepers In The Rift"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Greetings, ghouls and degenerates! Pardon me for a second while I kick a couple of rats out of my coffin...ah, that's better. Needless to say, 2011 has been quite the year for oldschool Swedish death metal, but for many, the debut release from Morbus Chron has been highly anticipated. These flesh-eating gremlins have worked hard in the underground building their reputation as one of the sickest and most morbid bands in the crop of new Swedish fiends. And that reputation is richly earned, as "Sleepers In the Rift" oozes with raw and pustulent filth. A zombie's delight!

The best thing I can say about Morbus Chron is that they truly embody the delirious sickness of early Swedish death yet they do NOT clone the acts from that time. Sure, there's a superficial resemblance to Grave, Carnage, Entombed, et al, but there is something unique and unpredictable about how they take the classic elements of those days and mutate them to their own cadaver-chomping sound. I think Morbus pays more tribute to old bands that DIDN't make it, such as Toxaemia, Grotesque, Tribulation and Putrefaction, than the more typical Entombed and Dismember. These fiends know their necro-lore!

"Sleepers In the Rifs" also has a true "grindhouse" feel to it. It's raw, loose, sloppy and very macabre and demented, almost like Autopsy. There's also a feeling of unpredictability, as the songs almost sound like they "write themselves" instead of following a rigid formula. That being said, there are morbid catchy riffs aplenty in lullabyes such as "Hymns To A Stiff", "The Hallucinating Dead" and "Dead Body Pile Necrophile". Hmmm, those song titles sure have a whiff of "Tales From the Crypt" to them, eh, ghouls! The best is saved for last with the skull-crushing horror odes "Lidless Coffin" and "Deformation of the Dark Matter".

Can't say this is the absolute be-all and end-all of neo-retro-death but it is a pleasantly ill piece of dementia. As always, I remain your humble servant...