Sunday, November 23, 2014

Rigor Mortis - “Slaves To The Grave” CD/DVD

Fitting epitaph for fallen thrash warrior

As a final statement after the untimely passing of founder and guitarist extraordinaire Mike Scaccia, this posthumous Rigor Mortis album, their first since 1991, shows a band who might have planned on so much more. The album’s opener, “Poltergeist”, even hints at a more spacious sound. But “Rain Of Ruin” dives into what Rigor Mortis were always known for — lightning speed thrash metal. Scaccia’s guitars are, if anything else, both swifter and cleaner, and vocalist Bruce Corbitt’s voice has gotten gruffer and thicker, if that makes any sense. The band themselves are tighter and more potent than ever before, making “Slaves To The Grave” a fitting return slash epitaph for this underrated Texas act.

Recorded at Ministry’s 13th Planet Studios (the home to many of Scaccia’s works with that band), the album is a clean and killer mix of fiery speed and scalding songwriting. “Flesh For Flies” is a blur, approaching grindcore, even, while “Fragrance Of Corpse” is a fun and bouncy tale of dead bodies, re-animating corpses, and everything gore-fixated that the band was known for. “Curse Of The Draugr” showcases Scaccia’s mighty riffs well, and this album serves as a final tribute to the man who was loved by many, and in some ways was the heart of Rigor Mortis. 

The bonus DVD, attached to the first pressing of this album, is a 20+ minute look into the studio recording of the album, with all four of the band present. It’s mostly in-studio discussion with some playing, and a couple of live cuts thrown on toward the end. Nothing essential, but a great collectors’ piece for fans. 

R.I.P. Mike, and thanks to the rest of the band for realizing this final release in his honor. Thrash on!

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