I love death. I love the idea that eventually every single living thing will be dead. Especially you! Heh, jokes. But seriously, does anything compare to the deep and profoundly empowering relief in knowing about the inevitable and glorious finality of death. Contemplate with me the categorical absolution waiting for each and every one of us as true equals in the wakeless bliss of post-existence. How good is it that one day, days will not be a thing any more because the earth will be dead and the sun will be dead too. Nothing compares to the tremendous sense of impending closure I get when I think about death. Nothing that is, apart from hearing a good slab of death metal to reflect on how good death truly is.
Questionably-licensed Australian grave tenders Backyard Mortuary love death too and they made a lot of noise about it on their 2012 release Lure of the Occult
. Despite how unfashionable it was to make death metal in 2012, when the tools of death available were well-worn and familiar, the band wielded them with mastery and an understanding that a motif as timeless as death simply can not get old. The band deliver an amalgamation of unpleasant influences to deliver death thoroughly yet uncomplicatedly in the form of blunt force guitar playing, obsessive drumming and a sadistic atmosphere where gruesome, slobbering vocals burble and stew like the caustic contents of some sinister cauldron, viciously stirred by catalystic tremolo riffs.
Thinking about getting cooked alive inside of a cauldron must have been influential in the development of this album, not only from the gruesome lyrical stylings, but the fact that the guitar tone seems designed to melt flesh from bone. Cutting low end riffs score and tenderise and flaying tremolos wilt categorical face. As well as loving death, Backyard Mortuary are partial to doom, too, evidenced in their measured, slower sections that serve to accentuate the upheaval of entrancing kill-grooves found throughout the album.
Tempo changes never feel haphazard or contrived, however. From the measured introductory crunching riffery of 'Last Rites' through to the sanguine drenched end of closer 'Demon's Blood', Backyard Mortuary demonstrate control over their medium and carefully savour each moment. The structure and pacing of each song are sadistically designed to extract every last morsel of grim gratification. The drumming epitomises the album's restraint; flowing, calculated grooves give way to blasting, reckless surging torrents during climaxes of raw death such as the horrifying altered state embodied about a minute and a half into 'Mutation', or the vicious, lengthy intro of the title track, or the majority of the triumphant closer.
The lead playing is another demonstration of the excellent songwriting. Solos rarely appear unexpectedly but are characterised by authoritative and genuinely interesting technique. There is variation too, such as contemplative melodies found in the transmutatitive solo of 'Mutation' or in the dangerously infectious tapping in 'Diseased'.
The vocals are incredibly effective throughout the album but particularly stand out on 'Macabre Butchery', where a variety of blood curdling gurgles and growls vividly depict the sort of infatuation with death that is deep within all of our own hearts. Later, in the suitable climax of the closing track, listeners are challenged not to submit to a tempting thirst from the goading and gratifying chant of "DRINK. DRINK, DRINK FROM THE CHALICE // DRINK FROM THE CHALICE OF DEMONS BLOOD” that stems from a delectably eviscerating concoction of riffs.
So if, like me, you're ever overwhelmed with anticipation for the impending mass extinction of mankind and all other types of kind and the unknowable eternity of death that awaits, spin an album like Lure of the Occult
to satiate the death lust that is innate to all types of lifeform and find some relief in the fact that death is a good and deserves as much love as anything else.