Slaves To The Grave
(Rigor Mortis Records)

Hell, for me this must be the most anticipated Thrash Metal release of 2014! 26 years since their self titled debut album and 23 years since their last release "Vs. The Earth" (featuring Doyle Bright on vocals) RIGOR MORTIS has risen back from the dead stiring up old cobwebs and recording their 3rd (and most likely the last ever) album "Slaves To The Grave". Most of you know the tragic circumstances under which this album had to be finished – their guitarist Mike Scaccia collapsed and died on stage on December 22, 2012, during the band’s home show in Ft. Worth. But the album was almost done and just a few days before the fateful show Mike Scaccia put the last touches to his guitar parts, so the remaining members had pulled themselves together and decided to release the album by themselves. The whole process took almost another two years, since RIGOR MORTIS formed its own record label and started the fundraising campaign to put the release together. And so the final statement in the form of "Slaves To The Grave" is out there and you better BEWARE! The opener ‘Poltergeist’ goes straight for your guts, no beating around – in the first 3 minutes RIGOR MORTIS show that 23 years hasn’t slowed them down, on the contrary, it only made them better musicians, as unadulterated Thrash / Speed blasts from the speakers and sends me into uncontrolled headbanging frenzy! And then comes the surprise – the second part of the song is a melodic, instrumental piece that could be a perfect Horror movie soundtrack. So here you have the most untraditional, original, yet head ripping number I’ve ever heard on a Thrash Metal album! And it’s only the beginning! ‘Rain Of Ruin’ follows with neck-breaking tempo and catchiest riff ever accompanied with brilliant underlying guitar soloing and brilliant chorus! By the third song ‘Flesh For Flies’ RIGOR MORTIS are truly firing up on all hellish cylinders and dealing out killer riffs and catchy hooks one after another. Bruce Corbitt’s vocal delivery is powerful and unique, you’ll never mix him with anybody else, and the whole band sounds tight as fuck. Let’s not forget that these guys have been playing in other bands during those twenty plus years, so the musicianship is on the highest level you can imagine, but no one is overshadowing one another. The sound is very organic – fat and warm, but with enough punch to rattle all your insides and sizzle your brains when the tempos start to pick up! In fact there’s no filler and I like how the album flows – most of the time it is fast and even faster with those wicked melodies and choruses that will be ingrained in your head forever. Freaking surprises come in when you least expect them and totally pull out all the stops, like on ‘Blood Bath’ when an energetic, technical Thrash Metal number at 4:27 minute starts to evolve into a 2 minute long jaw-dropping Mike Scaccia solo, showing his unique and melancholic side. The last two tracks – the instrumental ‘Sacramentum Gladiatorum’ and the majestic ‘Ludus Magnus’ slow things down to almost a marching pace with the latter featuring spoken vocals about the fate of the gladiators, showing yet another side of RIGOR MORTIS and clocking in 9:49 minutes, it is truly a breathtaking opus! So even if "Slaves To The Grave" will prove to be the final RIGOR MORTIS album, they can be sure that it is a crowning achievement, one of the few truly special Thrash Metal albums that will go into the history of the genre and will stand as the ultimate testament to the genius of Mike Scaccia! And since the band laboured and released it without any help from record labels, it also gives you – the true Thrash Metal fans – a damn strong reason to buy it and show your appreciation for the mighty RIGOR MORTIS!!! For the band info check here: www.facebook.com/rigormortis25. Albums and merchandise here: http://dirtheadmerch.storenvy.com/products

Mindaugas ‘Plix’ Lapinskas

Mindaugas 'Plix' Lapinskas

Related reviews / interviews:
RIGOR MORTIS - Interview (Frank Stöver)

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