Friday 18 October 2019

Morthifera - Apócrifo (2019)

Country: Argentina
Style: Thrash Metal
Rating: 7/10
Release Date: 11 Oct 2019
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I often like to end the week with a good old fashioned thrash album, because that's the best way to clean out my system for the weekend. This is a really solid one from Argentina that started good and then got even better. They've been around since 2010 but this is only their second full length album, the first being Basurero humano in 2016. They're very good at what they do and I hope that their supporting slot on the recent South American tour of Nuclear Assault brought that to a lot of new ears.

They're an unashamed thrash metal band because they don't tend to shift into other genres, though not everything is played at speed so they could easily be described as heavy/thrash. The opening song highlights that really well: Terapia de represión blisters early and late but slows for some very tasty sections midway, one of them led by a very prominent bass.

I'm impressed by everyone here, but Heber Rojas gets some very nice moments to shine on bass, most obviously in a solo run he delivers on Analepsis, the longest and most technically minded song on offer here. He keeps finding odd moments to elevate the material in ways we don't usually expect, like a solo on Odio heradado or a clever set of notes during a breakdown on Apostasía to enhance the song.

These musicians are notably proficient and willing to experiment a little at points, like in the short flamenco driven instrumental called Núcleo in the very middle of the album, appropriately because Núcleo translates to Core. I could see many describing this as technical thrash because Morthifera rarely take the simple options, even in slower sections.

However, while it's often complex stuff, it never loses its attitude. Daniel Perez sings and screams with punk attitude and there's often a real urgency to the music, that goes beyond thrash being inherently urgent. Just listen to Odio heradado, or Inherited Hate, which would feel like an angry protest song even if we didn't know what it was called. So, while Morthifera can be compared to a technical band like, say, Sieges Even, it's also fair to raise Nuclear Assault too.

As with any thrash band, the real test comes on stage. Audiences react to a sense of immediacy as much as quality and the best pits rely on charismatic delivery as much as the right tempo. On the basis of this album, I'd really like to see Morthifera live. They have all the musical components they need and I'm pretty sure they'll have the attitude to sell them to the audiences at shows too.

My favourite song here, apart from Analepsis, is Verso pollice, or Against the Police, which features a guest appearance from Wata, presumably the one who sings for Buenos Aires death metal band Matan S.A. Oddly, he adds what sound like black metal shrieks, among other vocal contributions, but I like the extra texture. This is a pit song without a doubt and I almost started one here in my office while I was working. It's good fast and it's great as a slow grind.

Not everything here is that great but there's nothing sub-standard here at all. The worst song is a good one and it's all uphill from there. This is a solid second album from Morthifera and I'll now eagerly seek out the first one and perhaps the famous Argentine metal band Lethal, given that I think that's what Morthifera translates to, perhaps in homage. Viva thrash metal sudamericano!

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