Morbus Grave - Official Website

Feasting The Macabre

Italy Country of Origin: Italy

1. The Prowler (Intro)
2. Where Evil Dwells
3. Funeral Embodiment
4. Congregation Of The Exult
5. Feasting The Macabre
6. Voices From Beyond (Interlude)
7. Lusting Terror
8. Dissolving Obscurity
9. The Immortal Realm
10. ...And The Slaughter Remains (Outro)

Review by Vladimir on July 10, 2024.

It's not so common these days to come across a death metal band with intimidating music and morbid atmosphere that is not so ordinary and typical like many would come to expect. Such is the case with the italian band Morbus Grave, that are still fresh in the scene despite being active since 2010, and their latest output would turn out to be a very welcome change for the modern-day world of extreme metal. Their second full-length album Feasting The Macabre is set to be released on July 22nd, 2024 via the label Memento Mori, and if you are someone who is into mid to late 80's death metal that was still very much bordering with thrash metal, you should probably stick around for this review.

First and foremost, the band kicks things off with 'The Prowler' intro that slowly builds up the tension and suspense of Feasting The Macabre, preparing us for the death-thrashing that awaits on the other side, until all of a sudden we are instantly thrown into action with 'Where Evil Dwells', displaying evil and wicked death metal filled with atmosphere of dread and hellish realities. From the moment it kicks into violent action, it nicely establishes the horrific direction that this album will be going with throughout its entirety, all the while delivering intense bangers and becoming even heavier with every new riff the further it progresses. The overall approach that Morbus Grave utilizes on Feasting The Macabre is a much more preliminary death metal from the late 80's and early 90's, somewhat similar to early Morbid Angel, early Bolt Thrower, Autopsy, Slaughter and Pestilence, which is less traditional in style and leaning more towards the use of harsh vocals as opposed to deep guttural growls. In some way it serves a nice throwback to the days when this subgenre was still in its starting phase and beginning to develop into something much meaner and darker, but executed with such honesty and without relying too heavily on a nostalgia factor just for the sake of pleasing. What stands out about this album is that it's got a couple of ambiental moments that give it a sort of a gradual chapter progression, with an interlude track 'Voices From Beyond' that bridges the gap between the first and the second half of the album, plus the whole thing ends with the eerie and horrific '...And the Slaughter Remain', which is like a scene from a 70's Italian horror movie.

The songwriting on this album uses a lot of traditional death metal ideas in terms of heavy tremolo or slow doomy riffs, but its overall execution has a very dynamic range with all the frequent tempo changes that maintain that intensity and aggression. Aside from the riff work on this album, what I think nicely compliments Morbus Grave's output is the dark brooding atmosphere in the music, that nicely carries over from one track to another, with the strongest example being evident on 'Congregation Of The Exult'. I must say that I was very pleased with their oldschool approach that breaks away from the stereotypical death metal bands of today, and I think it just shows how one can still express that extreme heaviness and morbid vibe with a different than usual style. It's a rare case when a contemporary death metal band opts to take things in this direction, which was still rooted in 80's speed and thrash metal that formed into something much more extreme and wicked as time went by, but I personally feel that the work of Morbus Grave on this album proved to be very effective and well-thought-out. I would dare to say that this task is extremely difficult, especially with general familiarity and expectations of a subgenre such as this, but you can tell that the band was anything but pressured to give it all they got, and they did it rightfully with pure passion and dedication, without conforming to the subgenre's long established standards. What also stood out to me about Feasting The Macabre is the cover art by Thomas Westphal, which in style somewhat resembles Cryptopsy's "Blasphemy Made Flesh" and Sepultura's "Arise", almost like a hybrid of the two, but nevertheless captures the essence of the Morbus Grave and the visual representation is spot on with the music. Production-wise, the album has a raw and dry sound which is still quite heavy and not thinned out, somewhat reminiscent of some albums from the early 90's period.

Overall, I have to say that I enjoyed Feasting The Macabre for its extreme death-thrashing violence that lasts throughout the entire album, but I personally have to praise it for the successful and brave execution of providing a less than usual death metal result. There's plenty of banger tunes on this album that are rich with atmosphere and darkness in the riffs, and the great thing is that once you become familiar with the established direction, it's pretty much everlasting in quality. A band such as Morbus Grave is a real breath of fresh air that turned out to be a pleasant surprise, and they obviously aren't trying to take the subgenre back to its earliest form like many people would be led to believe. Check out Feasting The Macabre when it's released, you will have a fun time with this one.

Rating: 8.3 out of 10