"Better Off A Corpse"

By Dr. Abner Mality

One of the more entertaining death metal bands to see live in the Midwest is Mutilated by Zombies, hailing from the grisly necropolis of Dubuque, Iowa. I've seen these flesh-eating revenants several times live and they've never failed to disappoint. But  does their live performance translate to their debut CD?

Not really, but if you like real chunky, groovy death with gruesome vocals that will raise the hair on your neck, you should still give "Better Off A Corpse" a shot. Nothing too technical about MBZ, but their riff quality is generally excellent. Kind of similar to Obituary, Six Feet Under and Autopsy. In Josh DeMuth, the band has a real star in the making. His super-deep, grinding yet articulate vocals really push Mutilated into the above average quality. When those vocals are combined with some catchy choruses, like in "Rise To Enslave", it is headbang city.

Where the record falls down is a cheap and indifferent production. Now these guys aint' gonna be able to afford Studio Fredman or Fascination Street, but I do wish the record had a super-brutal production on the order of Mortician's "Chainsaw Dismemberment." Then cuts like "Crunch" and "The Essence of Life Devoured" would cave your chest in with a vengeance. As it is, the bass sounds rather strange and DeMuth's guitar sound is OK but could be better. Also, some of the cuts seem too short and could be "fleshed out" a little better.

Nevertheless, it's an enjoyable offering of putrid but smooth death metal in classic style and these zombies have plenty of time to ripen.