Mortiferum’s first grimy, deadly blasts ‘Altar of Decay’ find new life on vital dual-label reissue

There is so much music out there that it’s impossible to keep up with everything. I particularly admire sites that keep up with the demos circulating that are absolutely slaying people, but there’s no way I ever could be that person. I’m having a hard-enough time squeezing in all the millions of vital releases coming at us in March alone.

So, we weren’t exactly on the cusp of discovery when Mortiferum’s homemade 2017 demo “Altar of Decay” was released, but luckily Profound Lore and Blood Harvest have losers like me covered with their current reissue of that molten four-track effort. In advance of fresh new music from the band, getting indoctrinated with this Olympia, Wash., group and their twisted, blackened death assault comes at a pretty good time. This garage-produced effort—it’s charmingly lo-fi and scuzzy, as one would hope—has been in regular rotation on my Bandcamp app since downloading this beast a few months back, and now you can get your hands on a physical copy (though Profound Lore’s stock already has been bought up by hungry listeners). The band—guitarist/vocalist Max Bowman (also of Eos), guitarist Chase Slaker (formerly of Bone Sickness), and drummer/vocalist Alex Mody (also formerly of Bone Sickness)—set out to capture the beasts they have created (along with Predatory Light’s Dan Fried contributing on bass), and the result is an introductory wave that deserved the accolades it got when it dropped, as well as the reissue by both labels it’s getting now.

The title track opens things with noise bellowing, death bells chiming, and grimy, sooty riffs coming your way. It’s slow-driving pain, with the vocals leaving bruising, and the tempo going off. The drums decimate everything in sight, while the guitars take off, and riffs spiral into oblivion. “Blood Chasm” is torn to shreds from the start, absolutely pulverizing everything in front of it. The growls are raw and gurgling, while the band battles you in the mud, with a thrashy pace sending body blows, and smothering chaos grinding you to the end. “Vitiated Mortality” has an aching, doomy start before its head is taken clean off. Blood spews from the riffs before the tempo slows and brings agony. It’s not long until artillery is fired again, as the song destroys worlds and chews muscle right up to its finish. Closer “Grave Invocation” simmers in spooky keys, as a strange aura is established, and then we’re right into an animalistic assault. The drums maul, while violence erupts at every corner, and the raw growls and primal devastation hammer you right up until mercy turns out your lights.

Mortiferum should strike back soon with new music, so until then, fill up and sicken your mind with “Altar of Decay.” This is an effort that feels diseased and scarred, and it’s the ideal blast of death to whet your appetite and keep you waiting for more. Everything here is terrifying and foreboding, and that stench stinging your nostrils is the dried blood and organs their assault left behind.

For more on the band, go here:

To buy the album, go here (currently sold out):

Or here:

For more on the label, go here:

And here: