Label: Camo Pants Records
Following the release of debut full-length Tormentium on Iron Bonehead Records, New York’s Mutilate are back with All Life Ends, a three-track, ten minute demo that sounds just as nasty and fetid as the cover art would have you hoping. As with that album, and their previous demo Fortress of Suffering, there is literally nothing new here – this is death metal as it was when the genre first clawed itself out of its shallow grave to inflict pain and suffering upon the world. This could well have been recorded in 1987 and only just now been unleashed upon the world; and that is exactly the point.
If you’ve spent any length of time listening to old-school death metal, then there’s nothing on All Life Ends that you haven’t heard before. Riffs that are fetid and vicious, yet also pack some groove? Check. Machine-gun drums? Check. Deep, disgusting vocals that barely sound human? Check. It’s all wrapped up in a rough, raw production that gives the demo a bit of extra punch, though in comparison to Tormentium the drums lack a bit of power – but then, given that this is intended as a demo recording, that can easily be forgiven. Even with this in mind, Mutilate still provide an ample demonstration of bone-breaking, dirt-encrusting, entrail-consuming old-school death.
And taken as such, it’s hard to fault. Catchy and powerful, All Life Ends is darkly charming in its utter devotion to the old-school, with its knuckle-dragging single-mindedness being both its greatest strength and weakness. There might be nothing here you haven’t heard before, but if you have heard it before and enjoyed it, then you’re gonna enjoy All Life Ends. Whether Mutilate can build on this and Tormentium remains to be seen – there’s no denying that there’s a lot of old-school death metal bands out there right now, and it’s hard to stand out in such a crowded scene. Still, All Life Ends offers evidence that the band have the passion for this style of music, and there’s potential for them to release something far greater in the future than they already have. Not quite the finished article yet, but definitely ones for the underground to keep an eye on.