Mordatorium hail from Chicago, but you probably wouldn’t guess that from listening to “Obsessed With Death”, which is their third release (discounting the two track taster for this album). They describe themselves as “heavily influenced by Swedish and British acts of the early ‘90s”. I would refine this a little to say very much in the style of Bloodbath or Edge of Sanity.
They deliver a dirty sludgy riff heavy death metal which is very much in the Swedish style, and clearly both (there are only two of them) understand exactly what they want to convey. There are some very nice changes of pace within tracks, slowing down to almost doom pace with unrelenting heaviness and then having the drums kick in at a frenetic speed.
Title track “Obsessed With Death” has some nice lyrical concepts: “the music of misery”, “Beating down, crushing your soul” which give you a clear idea of the subject matter. It also features some really good uses of change of tempo, repeating lyrics against a different musical landscape and finishes abruptly without feeling the need to overstate and/or fade out.
At some points, notably on third track “Beheaded”, Andrew Oosterbaan’s vocal sounds very much like Johan Hegg (Amon Amarth) and I’m thrown into almost a retrospective of that band’s later recordings. So am I saying that Mordatorium are derivative and unoriginal? No, not at all. They have similarities with these bands, but a style which merges all of these elements (and probably others too of bands which I am not so familiar with) and comes up with a very pleasing concoction of their own.
Thematically the album deals with the familiar ideas of death (generally in unpleasant ways and gruesome detail), killing, annihilation – you get the general drift. All set against a chuggy, sludgy guitar style. I’m very much a fan of Swedish death metal and I wasn’t expecting a duo from Chicago to come up with something that was so faithful to that style. I thoroughly enjoyed this album and would recommend it to anyone else who is a fan of traditional Swedish death.