Mortification - Brain Cleaner
Rowe Productions
46 minutes
MegilothReview by:  Megiloth

Mortification - Brain Cleaner

1)  Boa Constrictor
2)  Too Much Pain
3)  Purest Intent
4)  Free As A Bird 
5)  Brain Cleaner 

6)  I'm Not Your Commodity 
7)  The Flu Virus 
8)  Livin' Like A Zombie 
9)  12 Men 
10)  Louder Than The Devil 
11)  E.D. 

KRIKEY!!  This one's a beaut!!!  It's only taken the band about 10 years and an endless rotating cache of musicians, but Steve Rowe and his new Aussie pals have created heavy music again.  This is the CD that Bloodworld should have been.  Steve is growling again, and the music is the heaviest since Post Momentary Affliction.  Vocally, when Steve isn't doing his growls, he sounds like Snake of VoiVod with hints of Kurt Bachman of Believer.  Maybe even a bit of Lemmy of Motorhead as well.  The guitar and drums are again some of the best musical showings the band has done in a long time.  Killer fretwork, blastbeats, and impressive double-bass are more prevalent than previous works.  Of course, Steve's thumping bass guitar is upfront in the mix to show off them there skills of his.  As for the lyrics, it's typical cheesy stuff that Steve Rowe has written since 1994, with even cheesier song titles.  And speaking of cheesy, the cover art (courtesy of the very talented Troy Dunmire) makes it look like this is going to be a concept album based on a spectacle-free Harry Potter.  Actually the kid on the front is Leighton Rowe, Steve's son.

Mike, Mick, and SteveBefore I picked this up, I read generally favorable reviews and I heard some sound clips.  I had high hopes for this one, and I was not let down.  The opening "Boaconstrictor" is a speed metal thrashing delight, which leads into the Post Momentary Affliction era sounding "Too Much Pain".  Slowing things down to a moshy grind is "Purest Intent".  Cool solo on that one.  The instrumental, "Free As A Bird", isn't an homage to Lynyrd Skynyrd, but rather a simple and needless track.  It just takes up two minutes of disc space that could have been used for other cool stuff.  Speaking of cool stuff, the title track has guitarist Mick Jelinic doing some great guitar work.  If I didn't know any better, I'd swear it was Larry Farkas making a guest appearance playing some leftover solos from Vengeance Rising's "Mulligan Stew".  Undoubtedly one of the highlights here is "I'm Not Your Commodity".  Groovy sound effects, great vocals and bass tone by Steve. Mike Forsberg hits some double-bass speeds comparable to Pete Sandoval of Morbid Angel, and a spiffy guitar solo rounds this track out.  Great stuff so far!

The final tracks are pretty decent also, but they're a bit all over the place.  "Flu Virus" is an upbeat tune with a total 80's power metal solo ala Iron Maiden.  "Livin' Like A Zombie" will bang the head that doesn't bang, and is also the epic at over 7 minutes.  "12 Men" is a bit dated musically, and rightly so.  It's an old Lightforce (Steve Rowe's old band) song from 1986.  "Louder Than The Devil" is another standout, while "E.D." is a bit on the silly side.  It's their obligatory short song with repeated lyrics, complete with a whistle, a cowbell, and a kazoo.  In this case, the repeated lyrics are "E.D. - Evil Death" .  But it sounds more like "Evil Dead", which would be a very cool homage to the cinematic masterpiece starring Bruce Campbell :)  Oh yeah, let this song play out until the 1:48 mark.  For some reason, they decided to put the explosion from "Boaconstrictor" by itself???  At least, that's what it sounds like.

In summary, this is Steve Rowe taking Mortification back to just before I started to lose interest.  The band's old "death metal" logo is even being used.  It may not be a death metal milestone like Scrolls of the Megilloth, but it's a breath of fresh air from the band's recent offerings.  Fans of the early stuff will like this.  Now if only Mr. Rowe would stop writing lyrics akin to Sunday School songs.

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Too Much Pain
I'm Not Your Commodity

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