Vomitory - Opus Mortis VIII
Metal Blade
Death Metal
10 songs (36:24)
Release year: 2011
Vomitory, Metal Blade
Reviewed by Tony
Album of the month
I only recently discovered Vomitory. Despite being on a Death Metal kick, I found myself unfortunately listening to so many of the same albums I had been for years. A little Death, Cannibal Corpse, Vital Remains, with a sprinkling of Morbid Angel, Deicide, and Nocturnus. It came the time to expand my listening region. By this I mean, actually leaving Florida and venturing forth into the lesser bastions of Death Metal chaos. Where better to turn then the frequently forgotten Scandinavia. With the never forgotten second wave of Black Metal and the still cranking Norwegian bands like Taake and others, Norway was a place I rarely traversed, save for the grooviness of Blood Red Throne. Finland has some nice Black Metal, amongst the rawest in the entire region. However, one of the most overlooked scenes is that of Swedish Death Metal. No, not the Melodic kind, where the Gothenburg bunch have received plenty of notice, but the Americanized, Brutal Death Metal bands plying their trade in the frozen land of Sweden have not received the notice of their American influences despite their solid output. Vomitory are a band that have been at it for years. Since 1989 to be exact, and they never seem to let up. I was thrilled to discover them. It is always nice to hear something new and encouraging. Do Vomitory do anything progressive, thoughtful, or atonal? No. Do they change the face and shape of a mainly concrete and stone set genre? No. Do they use crushing guitar tone, heavy as Hell vocals, and a pummeling percussion battery to beat your eardrums into submission? You bet! This is no Like an Everflowing Stream and it does not have the guile of Left Hand Path, but it is a great album in its own right.

This is Opus Mortis VIII, their most recent works. The cover features an image of seemingly undead, fully dressed combat G.I.’s playing in a string ensemble. This could possibly elude to a depressing overture being played to exude the epic and disastrous nature of warfare, one of Vomitory’s principle lyrical themes. Nonetheless, Vomitory continue in the same vein as their previous recent works, such as the excellent Carnage Euphoria, yet expand on their diversity, all whilst maintaining the chunky riffs, virulent vocals, and booming percussion. The run of the mill lyrics are still there. Gore, violence, warfare, they all remain a consistent base for the lyrics in Vomitory. While many may view this slight tweak in their musical direction to be a malefactor in their sound, the additions made to an already powerful band seem to diversify and enlighten the music, even if so slightly.

Really what makes Vomitory an excellent band is their variation in tempos and sparing usage of blast beats. One of the reasons why Cannibal Corpse, specifically on TOTM is so heralded is their well wrought insertions of blast beats. Vomitory do the same here, selecting only the most opportune moments to unleash the full fury. Double bass is consistently present, and it seems as if the drumming skill has improved since Carnage Euphoria. So, what changes have Vomitory made do you ask? Well, to start, the guitar solos are slightly increased, there is a small bit more of melody, and the guitar riffs alternate at times between harmonized melodies and the meaty barrage that Vomitory fans have grown accustomed to. Opening with a salvo of overdriven bass and drums, Regorge in the Morgue then leads into another stop-go heavy riff before blast beats enter the picture. What makes this opener so excellent is the interchangeable drum beats. In the first minute of the song we hear at least four drum beats. The snares enter at different times. The first guitar riff which punishes the listener outright and immediately falls over the chorus. A shredding solo gives way to a bridge with tremolo picked harmonies laid over a rapid double bass rhythm. Immediately it becomes evident why I used terms like “slight,” “small” and “at times.” Nothing really is different from Vomitory’s proven pattern. The only changes (which aren’t even really changes, and should be described as “modifications”) are the slight edge in melody and an added diversity to song structure. Another stop-go riff gives way to another melodic harmony in Bloodstained. Detractors may come around as saying negative things about Vomitory’s diversion from their usual one dimensional brutality, stating that the riff changes and such might very well remove Vomitory from what they are hailed for, but they are wrong here. Vomitory have not changed direction at all. They simply have enhanced what they are already known for. Taking the cutting edge yet still somehow raw sound of their guitars, audible bass, and skillful drums, and twisting their strengths into further achievements. My favorite song on Opus Mortis VIII is They Will Burn. This is one of the slower, meatier songs on the album. A very catchy chorus comes complete with a wah laden solo that sounds derived from blues scales more than anything blatantly used for modern metal. Following the solo and another melodic drone, there is a portion in which one measure of guitar is played, before the entirety of the band follows suit. This minuscule tinge to this riff is one of the heaviest components I have heard to a Death Metal album in a long, long time. The listener will know exactly what I am talking about when that calm leads to their neck being tested by the amount of headbanging they will engage in. Hate in a Time of War is memorable in the sense that it emerges with an eerie acoustic riff before the eventual band continues their Death Metal onslaught. For the first moments of this song, the slowest riffs on the album take place. But like so many Death Metal songs that begin slowly, this one of course picks up as well. Unlike other genre’s of Extreme Metal, there is no South of Heaven, no Xasthur, and no song that should be lie low for its entirety. The blast beats here are especially well inserted as an excellent niche to the song.

Opus Mortis VIII continues along with more tracks that are not necessarily memorable but are still worthy of our attention. Torturous Ingenious has a brutal trilled riff and one of the best solos on the album. The last truly strong song on the album is the brilliant Combat Psychosis. With seamless tempo changes and small percussive peaks and valleys this song proves to be the strongest of the latter half of the album. Once again the guitar tone is raw but beyond powerful. I have always loved the guitar sound of Vomitory. The tone is not too raw, but not too polished, leaving that gory, slashing feeling as the guitars whip their way around like a chainsaw.

Some may say that the small insertions of melody have hurt the latest efforts on Opus Mortis VIII. To me, this is Vomitory’s strongest album, one that legitimized my excitement as I awaited the arrival of this excellent record.

Killing Songs :
Regorge in the Morgue, Bloodstained, They Will Burn, Combat Psychosis
Tony quoted 91 / 100
Other albums by Vomitory that we have reviewed:
Vomitory - Carnage Euphoria reviewed by Goat and quoted 81 / 100
Vomitory - Terrorize Brutalize Sodomize reviewed by Kayla and quoted 76 / 100
Vomitory - Blood Rapture reviewed by Alex and quoted 84 / 100
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