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MORTIFICATION - REALM OF THE SKELATAUR (2015, VINYL)

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Their 16th studio album, ?Realm of the Skelataur? sees Steve Rowe (vocals & bass), Lincoln Bowen (lead & rhythm guitars) and Andrew Esnouf (drums) return to Mort?s nineties form of thrashing death metal with unexpected chord changes and off kilter time signatures.

With this being the final Mort album, they open with a slow-burner that starts off doomy and then moves towards thrash. ?The Cost? is all about a martyr of the Christian faith, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Steve?s vocals are a gravely growl. ?The 1940?s /A hero of the faith / refusing to stop / preaching the gospel / He saw the evil / in the 3rd Reich / Had to protect / the weak and the oppressed?.

?Feed Your Hungry Ears? takes off at a galloping pace and has time changes with some staccato riffing. ?Fill your ears with words of truth / Your soul is hungry for food / Coming out across the stage / Where the band plays gospel faith?. It is an even faster pace in Extrinsick Forces as Lincoln Bowen?s lyrics takes a look at Steve?s battles with health.

?Realm of the Skelataur? has a whole heap of things going on including some outrageous backing vocals and a melodic mid-section rock guitar solo. You might think that ?Slaughter Demon Headz? is the shortest track, but there also two extremely short tracks to be found on here. Then Steve manages to fit as many album titles into the lyrics of one song, ?Our Anthem?.

?40 Day Fast? lasts 17 seconds and is followed by ?Total Thrashing Death?. It starts with a thunderous bass intro and rapidly changes tempo. ?Thrashing the death / Killing the fake / Finding the faith / Eternal skies / Living the light?. This is coupled with ?Enrapture? which looks at salvation and redemption.

There are 7 seconds of ?Grave Sucking? and then it is onto the epic ?Pushing Weird Buttons? which looks at how consumerism has overtaken our lives.

It is worth mentioning that the production on here is much better than their previous album and makes a fitting end to the Australian megabeast that is Mortification.