The Needle Drop

Morta Skuld- "Preacher of Lies"

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Like any other genre, death metal has its classics. Even though the style has remained relatively underground, pioneers like Death, Morbid Angel, and Atheist are considered seminal by metal fanatics. More contemporary groups such as Gojira and Opeth have altered the sound for an even more widespread appeal.

Considering the chromatic riffing, deafening distortion, tempo changes, and death growls, it's no wonder this stuff was relegated mostly to demo tapes in the late 80s and early 90s. The fortunate bands made it onto extreme music labels such as Earache, but even that didn't guarantee widespread success.

That was the case for Milwaukee's Morta Skuld. Not to say the group wasn't active in the death metal scene at the time. I'm sure the group's early career was a wild ride. In its heyday, Morta Skuld received favorable reviews, released several albums, and performed with metal greats like Slayer.

Still, time managed to forget about these guys, but Relapse records, I suppose, is making an effort to change that with a reissue of the band's early demos: Gory Departure and Prolong the Agony. These two EP-length releases have been combined with a few bonus tracks to create Through the Eyes of Death: The Early Demos.

In a time of glossy, overproduced death metal, the sounds on these demos are especially filthy. Plus, since these tracks were released in the early 90s, there's still a really prevalent thrash metal influence in the riffs. That's especially true of the track streaming above: "Preacher of Lies." Lyrically, this one's a strong jab at money-hungry preachers who siphon cash from their congregations. Sonically, it's an assault that I think has gotten dirtier over time.

Try out two more tracks from this demo reissue here and here. Like I said, find this thing on Relapse Records.