Review Summary: Cool Mortification may not be the most original death metal release, but a unique atmosphere and near-perfect execution makes it an extremely worthwhile listen for any fan of the genre.
Hailing from, of all places, the Czech Republic, Krabathor
were formed in 1984 under the guise of Monster
before adapting to Krabator
in 1987, and then finally to Krabathor
in 1990. Cool Mortification
was released in 1993 and is the band's second album, coming a year after the rather lukewarm reaction to the debut Only Our Death Is Welcome…
While the previous album could be seen as a thrash album with death influences, Cool Mortification
venture into more death metal territory with a thicker sound and deeper vocals, although the thrash influence did remain in the riffing and tempo.
While it may seem to be an odd title at first, Cool Mortification
describes the album to a tee; an eerily haunting, and at times cold, onslaught of death. This is documented excellently in The Loop
, which features an evocative clean intro with lovely synth work that leads into the sinister thrash style of riffing that is prevalent throughout the album. This leads smoothly into Without The Following Dawn
, a song that features the largest influence from thrash metal, particularly in its main riff that wouldn't sound out of place in a lot of thrash. It should also be noted that, while Krabathor
's sound is not original for the time, they manage to stand out from the crowd due how well it is executed. The riff work on the album is rather simplistic and at times quite groovy, but is complimented by some classy lead work.
The longest song on the album, Forget The Gods
, is another highlight. Featuring a heavy groove at a slow pace, it would be expected that the song becomes boring fast, however Krabathor
really know what they're doing when they slow down the pace, and as always, the simplistic riff work is complemented excellently by some nice leads. Temporary Being Of Insignificancy
features some of the best bass and lead work on the album, even including a bass solo. The song almost brings an atmosphere of melancholy, something that I can't say I have heard in death metal with no doom influence. It's a compelling album closer.
The overall production of this album should be commended. Every instrument can be heard perfectly while the chilling atmosphere remains. Unlike many death metal albums the bass is easily heard and quite prominent in the mix, and Cool Mortification
is all the more better for it due to the superb playing from Bronislav Kovarik
. Along with Kovarik
's excellent bass work, Petr Kopacek
's drumming should also be noted. Playing more of a thrash metal style, Kopacek
provide an excellent and interesting rhythm section. The rest of the band members also pull their weight, with the guitarists Martin Mikulec
and Petr Krystof
supplying some excellent lead work that complements their simplistic, thrash metal riff style. Krystof
also provides lead vocals for the album with some great sounding growls. While it could be argued that there is not a lot of variation in his vocals, it is still an effective performance.
Overall, Cool Mortification
is executed almost perfectly; Krabathor
definitely know their way around their instruments, and they provide solid songwriting throughout. They manage to fully grasp the listener's attention. My only true complaint about the album is that the album could be seen as unoriginal due to the death/thrash style being extremely popular at the time. However, if all you are looking for is a fix of death metal through a thrash metal filter, then Cool Mortification
is by far one of your best bets.