Review by Alex on June 8, 2019.
I almost skipped over this due to receiving so much physical media thus being forced to prioritize those higher than digital and wish I had gotten to it earlier, but I’m glad it did not get lost in the piles of intangible music. Mutilate is comprised of high skilled musicians, it’s evident with every note played. Back to front Contagium is a complete record of sound compositions on an exotic cloudy production that gives the listener impressions suggesting Mutilate recorded this material just where the cover art depicts. Contagium has to be one of the best death metal albums released in 2019. There's been a-lot thus far but Contagium cackles at the feeble efforts of many. Every song is a blast of thrashing death metal fury filled with scourging guitar leads, dynamic drumming and cadaverous vocals. In addition, Mutilate has a sound they can call theirs thanks to the production heard on the record; it brings to mind the mid-80s style of thrash metal records with a low but audible bass and a heavy emphasis on lead guitars. I have heard their 2018 output Tormentium, which I thought was a good debut full- length record but, Contagium is way better, in every way. The production is still raw sounding (something I liked about Tormentium), but the song writing has taken a turn towards improved structuring, transitions and thrashing guitar leads that grab your attention on every entry making Mutilate’s second record a case of pulsing adrenaline and a more serious force within the underground. This is a must have for 2019.
From the tramping drumming of “Vile and Disgusting”, the ear-gasmic licks and vocal antics of “Quartered”, to impulsive energetic sonic-storms of “Black Faith”, “Falling into Darkness”, “Decapitator” and “Skeletal Haunting”, you rarely find reason to complain unless you're burnt-out or just don’t appreciate this kind of material. I mean it's been done in the past, but to hear it replicated in the modern era to this much effect tells me the genre is in a healthy state (at least where the underground is concerned). Apart from being so deeply rooted in fiery thrash /death metal, Contagium reserves some space for doom metal sections that can be heard on tracks “Eyes of a Child” and “Falling into Darkness” with the latter having some of the stand-out lead guitar work. Even a punk metal aura is created on “Black Fate” which is again another track worth mentioning due to the guitar leads. The licks on Contagium are something-else, with every transition you’re presented with a string of notes or vocal piece that pulls you in every-time. Not excluding the drumming, showing the competency of keeping momentum, but also providing a memorable drum attack that mimics many styles, from doom metal, death metal, thrash metal, punk metal and even “war metal”.
It's the artwork that caught my attention for Contagium, it holds a mysticism often associated with death metal when it was merely an embryo, and the music supports the picturesque mystique. This isn’t one of those records that only has an eye-catching cover, the music here is as strong and appealing as the artwork.
Headbang till your nose bleeds.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10