Morta Skuld
As Humanity Fades


5.0
classic

Review

by VOTED most underrated user (2016, 2020) USER (8 Reviews)
November 22nd, 2021 | 8 replies


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Death metal perfection.

There’s a euphoric feeling when you stumble across a newfound personal favorite album by total coincidence. Yet, there’s also a feeling of disappointment when you have nobody to share your sentiments with.

In the March of 2021, I drove from Laramie, Wyoming to Daytona Beach, Florida, and then back to Laramie. That’s 2,871 miles added to my Jeep’s odometer, and 50 albums-worth of hours to listen to. Morta Skuld’s As Humanity Fades took up probably 30 of those 50 hours. After a few dozen of mediocre and forgotten obscure death metal albums from a bygone bargain bin of metal history, As Humanity Fades sounded like Death’s Human in comparison. In fact, it nearly sounded as good as Death’s Human -- period. Yet, this was not a genre juggernaut like Cannibal Corpse or Morbid Angel, nor was it a genre definer like Death. Instead, this was an album by an obscure band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Months later, my feelings have hardly been watered down. Morta Skuld’s 1994 sophomore effort is one of the best death metal albums I’ve heard, and it’s an outright ignominy that the album isn’t worshipped as a genre classic. There’s a strange sense of innovation and reputability that As Humanity Fades radiates, all made even stranger by the fact that Morta Skuld only barely crawled out from the Milwaukee underground. “In The Shadows” opens with a proto-djent riff based on a polyrhythm that seems to have beaten Meshuggah a year early at their djent game. Speaking of Meshuggah, the entire second half of “Awakening Destiny” sounds like it could’ve been stolen off of Destroy Erase Improve. Also beaten a year early, Skuld seamlessly incorporate an acoustic guitar into a death metal riff in the chorus of “Different Breeds” in one of the album’s greatest single moments. When Chuck Schuldiner made the same idea iconic in Death’s “Crystal Mountain”, it’s entirely possible that he was inspired by “Different Breeds”.

While there seems to be slightly more discussion for Skuld’s debut, Dying Remains, it’s only slightly less obscure in nature compared to As Humanity Fades. Yet, As Humanity Fades ups their game in every single feasible category. The album’s first impression displays a gloriously chunky production that resonances with stunning similarities to a Scott Burns effort. Although the great Burns had nothing to do with As Humanity Fades, producer Jeff Hamilton emulates his mastering style effortlessly, which helps push the album further in heaviness. Lyrically, the band has matured from typical blood and guts diction to discussions of philosophy, social enlightenment, and a sophisticated approach to the downfall of humanity. More than anything else, the members of Morta Skuld are all playing their asses off on every single second. Drummer Kent Truckenbrod switches up his playing styles and tempos without even breaking a sweat, and guitarist Dave Gregor and Jason O’Connell master both thick palm-muted chugs with technical scaleshreds. Bassist Jason Hellmann’s bass mix is also delightfully loud in the mix, and his slapping brings a whole new level of grooviness and heaviness to the album’s already earth-shattering sound.

Morta Skuld’s diverse energizes help express the album’s unique sound. Whereas most acts only writhe in the same one or two speeds and styles of death metal, Morta Skuld’s ability to switch it up on a whim is nothing short of impressive. Any given song on As Humanity Fades will blend classic death metal riffage with funky grooves with lightning-fast thrashing with doomy breakdowns with proto-technicality and near-progressiveness, in too many amazing moments to count. To list every single noteworthy riff on As Humanity Fades would be to count every grain of sand on the beach, or every single drop of water in the ocean; it’s meaningless. The short answer is: you know it’s a lot.

Skuld’s groove in particular really sticks out, and As Humanity Fades is easily the grooviest death metal album ever written. The inspiration visibly draws from Pantera, Black Sabbath, and Crowbar just as much as it does Death, Gorguts, or Deicide, seamlessly combining old school death metal riffage with slow, chunky, immeasurably funky grooves. The main riff to “The Sorrow Fields” sounds closely inspired by A Vulgar Display Of Power, made stronger by dual guitars playing two different riffs that complement eachother perfectly that Pantera lacked. There’s not a single dull moment across the entire album; every single nanosecond of As Humanity Fades riffs, shreds, grooves, or kills.

To discuss every single positive of As Humanity Fades is nearly impossible, but I shouldn’t have to be doing it at all. Instead, everybody should already know about As Humanity Fades like they do the back of their hand, and it absolutely flabbergasts me that merely an infinitesimal minority of the metal community is aware of Skuld’s genius. Imagine the alternate timeline where Death’s Leprosy only had a handful of votes on Sputnik, or if you had to utter the sentence “have you ever heard of this obscure New York band called Cannibal Corpse?” On the bright side, Morta Skuld’s As Humanity Fades is likely being hailed as a genre classic by that timeline's metalheads, but it’s a disgrace to metal, music, and space-time continuum that it’s not a household icon in every single timeline. Hopefully, others can finally share my sentiments.



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user ratings (31)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
TheSonomaDude
November 22nd 2021


8256 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

My first review since i was a senior in high school, way back in 2014. It's time to break my seven year fast.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcYmIq1dQQI&list=PLn6YnJtjeIabHKHCJepPP1xswHXf3zV-8&index=2&ab_channel=ThrashTillDeath420

parksungjoon
November 22nd 2021


38520 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

wish i liked this as much as most seem to



good job with the review tho

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
November 22nd 2021


21072 Comments


pos'd, my favorite is still for all eternity but the first three records are bona fied classics.

just saw them live in october actually, one of the tightest live shows ive ever seen. and really super cool dudes. cheers for reviewing this.

Digging: Stormkeep - Tales Of Othertime

DavidYowi
November 22nd 2021


1809 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"There’s a euphoric feeling when you stumble across a newfound personal favorite album by total coincidence. Yet, there’s also a feeling of disappointment when you have nobody to share your sentiments with."



I relate to this sentiment a lot with a couple albums. I'm gonna chech this out, you had me at grooves.



I will say the cover artist is a coward for not showing cock on the album art

TheSonomaDude
November 22nd 2021


8256 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks!



@parks damn rip bro. i tried to share the riffs



@hyperion I actually jammed the entire discog during the long drive I mentioned in the review, and yeah all three are awesome albums. For All Eternity was very good too. I'd love to see em live! I know an older guy whose band actually shared a setlist with them back in the 90's.



@davidyowi the artwork is really something aint it lol. i saw a shirt online with the cover art. it was $50, but not sure how i feel about walking around with cock and titties on display

parksungjoon
November 22nd 2021


38520 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

nah its not ur fault, ive known them for a long time, used to like them more for sure too

sonictheplumber
November 23rd 2021


13938 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice seein this on the front page, bought this cd and for all eternity when i saw them

Surtur
November 24th 2021


609 Comments


Really underrated album



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