Review: “Self Titled” by Moral Putrefaction

Formed in 2015, Chennai India based Death Metal act Moral Putrefaction have spent the better part of a decade building up the the release of their debut album. In that time they haven’t been resting on their laurels but solidifying their line up, playing shows and ensuring that the follow up to their 2019 twin track demo “Scum of the Earth” is the best it can possibly be. In 2022 they won Wacken Metal Battle India, going on to perform at Wacken Open Air in the same year, while within their home country they have shared stages alongside notable acts such as Suffocation, Psycroptic and Immolation. Fuelled by themes of Misanthropy, Psychology and India’s political and socio-economic landscape they threaten old school Death Metal with Blackened Death abnormalities and even Tech Death complexities…

Recorded as a three piece with vocalist and guitarist Shiva Moorthy handling all the riffs, the album begins with an ominous march through the valley of death in “Divided“. Setting the tone, it paints a bleak picture with clear 90’s Death Metal influences woven into its fabric; mid tempo leads and gruff vocals inflicting the maximum possible damage. It’s not the fire breathing, face melting opening affair that a lot of bands go for these days but instead forewarns that something wicked this way comes, drawing the listener into a false sense of security. Florina Jane at Cornerhouse Studios has managed to give the band an old school drum sound that has a raw edge and isn’t as crisp as it could be, something that benefits the album by giving it a certain nostalgic charm. Moorthy offers up a blood curdling roar in “Serpent’s Gaze” that finds the band shifting into off kilter rhythmic battery in the mid section. Quirky with an odd time signature the move is impressive and feels like something Imperial Triumphant may do, giving the band a whole new dimension to explore and painting them in an entirely different light. One from the bands 2019 demo that has been re-recorded and expanded by 7 seconds “Colonial Genocide” finds drummer Hemanth Vinod getting a full work out. From restless and relentless blasting to powerhouse fills it makes for a stand out performance while having a certain weight and gravity to it and a little more verve and swagger than the original. Death growls from Moorthy feel like he’s a Wolf howling at the moon while the bass from Nithin J Peter is masterful. Oh and some Thrash inspired whammy bar action? You just can’t go wrong.

Using the bass as a second rhythm guitar and placing it higher in the mix gives “Divine Retribution” a fresh dynamic more in keeping with Progressive and Technical bands in the current Death Metal sphere while the band remain steadfast in their commitment to an old school feel. Another piece of whammy bar action enhances the sinister and menacing overtones, Moorthy sounding like a beast from the black depths vocally. In many ways there is a timeless quality to the record, it could have reared its ugly head 20 years ago and no one would have batted an eyelid but by the same token it sounds modern enough, crunchy enough and technical enough to fit in the with the current crowd. Whether that is intentional or not it remains a tribute to the bands musicianship, which is second to none as “Scum of the Earth” demonstrates. Obscura would be proud to call that one their own, its tectonic plate shifting main riff having the kind of cutting edge that destroys buildings at fifty paces. But there is more to Moral Putrefaction than that as interlude piece “Sins of Our Fathers” offers a delicate atmospheric instrumental of acoustic guitars against howling winds and a storm. That allows a momentary respite before “Beneath Saffron Skies” roars into life like a Harley Davidson hitting the freeway. As with a number of the tunes here, this one brings to mind the Tampa Florida style with hints of bands like Deicide being an influence and crushes like an anvil. It will certainly be interesting to hear where Moral Putrefaction go from here because this is a very solid foundation stone [7.5/10]

Track Listing

1. Divided
2. Serpent’s Gaze
3. Colonial Genocide
4. Divine Retribution
5. Scum of the Earth
6. Sins of Our Fathers
7. Beneath Saffron Skies

Self Titled” by Moral Putrefaction is out 24th May 2024 and is available over at bandcamp

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