Review: Mortuary Drape – All the Witches Dance

Posted: November 6, 2013 in Reviews
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Mortuary Drape are credited, along with Death SS, as being one of the first Italian black metal bands and their sound has disseminated into so many black metal artists coming from all over Europe.

‘All the Witches Dance’ is a great record, full of pure black metal spirit but untethered to tremolo riffing and banshee screeches. Mortuary Drape bring gothic overtones, chanting as well as some more complex, thrashy riffs into the mix. You can feel a definite early Celtic Frost vibe coming through tracks like ‘Funeral Chant’. In fact, ‘All the Witches Dance’ is probably one of the earliest examples of a blackened death metal album, where the vocals are much more towards a death growl than a black metal screech.

Mortuary Drape’s singular achievement on this record is the sense of gloom and foreboding. Ritualistic chanting, slower doomy riffs and a general feel of murk and dread hangs over every song. The record reeks of the occult, particularly the creeping, crawling ‘Tregenda (Dance in Shroud)’ and the six minute drag of ‘My Soul’. It’s like if Black Sabbath and Mercyful Fate had a baby, then Celtic Frost raised it.

There are a few faster tracks, like ‘Larve’ that are reminiscient of the Greek black metal scene, particularly Rotting Christ, but these don’t suffer from any atmosphere loss due to their more uptempo style. The guitar work is great, clear and fluid soloing punctuate each song (generally a rarity in older black metal) and the bass sits high in the mix, giving it a warmer feel than some black metal records. Simply put, it is a lesson in how to do occult metal right, layered in atmosphere and deathly emanations. You owe it to yourselves to check it out

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