`Consumed By Evil’ is the second full length release from Californian Death Metal stalwarts Morfin, and sounds just like it could have been released in the early 90’s. In fact, if someone had said to me that this album was a re-release of an underground album from 1992, I would have believed them without question. It is also impossible to write about Morfin, and this album in particular without mentioning a certain other, seminal band. Normally I mention comparisons with other bands right at the end of the review, but this time the comparisons are so strong I am going to say it now; Death.
Yes, it’s clear that this band absolutely loves the early origins of Death Metal, but more than that, they worship Death the band in particular. Death-isms are abound everywhere on this album, even more than their previous offering. Jesus Romero’s vocals are practically a carbon copy of Chuck Schuldiner’s own; he’s completely mastered that inhuman screaming growl whilst still managing to enunciate the lyrics. It’s not just the vocals however; the riffs and guitar playing are inspired directly by Death’s back-catalogue, the first 3 albums in particular I would say. There is that `creeping riff’ trick (as I call it) that Death used in spades; playing a fast picked, sinister, single-note riff but moving it up and down the fretboard to create a sense of eerie drama. There is `that scale’ that Chuck Schuldiner always used; a combination of melodic and harmonic minor scales which made the music so morbid and atmospheric. It’s present in both the riffs and a lot of the guitar solos which sound rather like Schuldiner outtakes.
Also, the tempo is pure old-school death metal; a lot of bone-crushing mid-paced pummelling, followed by a picking up of the pace to more of a rough thrash beat (just like Death used to, again).
For a fan of the early stuff like myself, there is a lot to enjoy here; neck-breaking mid-paced riffs, followed by fast, thrashing mayhem, dark melodrama, enjoyably clichéd lyrics about death, gore, demons and misery and some really great guitar solos. However, while this release really hits the spot in some ways it falls a little short in others. Yes, it really sounds like Death, but the song writing just isn’t quite as impressive in my opinion. There are some really fantastic moments on the album, but the songs just aren’t quite as memorable as Death’s own output. Sometimes, when the band is charging full speed ahead, things get a little lost.
I also take issue with the instrumental track `Illusions of Horror’. I just don’t think it was necessary to include an instrumental track when the band could have put in another full-blown song here. It does sound to me like a Death Metal song without any lyrics.
That aside, I enjoyed listening to this sulphur-infused trip down memory lane and I look forward to seeing more from this band.
(7/10 Jon Butlin)