Morbid Execution - Vulgar DarknessThis first full length record from two-piece Throneum side-project Morbid Execution, “Vulgar Darkness”, was a difficult one for me to settle on. I appreciate good use of contrast in music and enjoy metal made up of a number of elements that work together well. But I also like stripped back and lo-fi sounds, especially that raw garage sound of early punk and thrash.

Starting with two songs that sound exactly the same for the most part, the second somewhat longer, we are well into the mix of punk, thrash and death metal. There’s no double-kick bass or blast beats and the tone of the drums is clear and under-produced. Uncle Morbid‘s vocals are gravelly growls that come in short monotone bursts of little more than a bar or two, as if any more and his lungs will collapse and fly out of his mouth. The subject matter is revolting, hateful and offensive, the sound disgusting, vile, and repulsive. As it should be.

The bass from Tom the Bomber is deep, fuzzy and always there. In fact when I isolated the bass as best I could the underlying doom foundations were clear, and I actually enjoyed spinning the record a couple of times with those settings. It’s definitely my favourite element of the record. Add his guitar and the first few songs are populated with short and overused riffs, but things get a bit murkier as the record progresses. By the time we reach the closing track the thrash has given way to something quite different.

On the one hand, this is a loud, grotesque, stripped back punk, thrash and death metal whirlwind. On the other, it’s an indulgent stoner doomfest. When music sets out to combine these two apparent extremes it can either work well or lose its way. In the end, I don’t think this record defines itself well enough, missing a chance to be either great fuzzy, grungy stoner doom or relentless thrash and in the end being neither. That’s not to say it’s without some great highlights, but it’s not what it could have been.