Here’s one that you don’t hear an abundance of: French death/thrash! Indeed, Mortal Scepter are a very abrasive group, showing no mercy with their debut record Where Light Suffocates. This entails a very furious ride of rough production, noisy riffs, and skull-crushing speed, all topped by fierce vocals that aren’t too throaty, avoiding the annoying guttural style that death metal tends to overuse.
Records like this have a tendency to not vary a whole lot and are meant to serve one purpose, but surprisingly Where Life Suffocates does a good job at preventing stagnation. “Murder The Dawn” does a fantastic job of bringing the ear-splitting intensity with incredibly dirty riffs, only to have a slower, settling middle section act as a bridge. Although the guitars sometimes mesh together, “Lust Spells” is a solid banger that begins with a solo that stands above the mix, making for a promising track. Tactics like this help give the songs their own identities. It’s not awkward either, as the flow is still there.
On the other hand, some of these songs are extremely sloppy, such as “Spear And Fang.” This one has riffs for days with multiple different rhythmic tactics, but it’s so thunderous that one can hardly hear the difference in chord progressions, especially at the start of the song. Part of this is due to the blistering speed of the drums, as they can overpower the guitars at times. So really, it’s hit or miss on whether you get high density in musical makeup or high density in furious delivery; most tracks vary in both. However, the final ten-minute track “…The Scepter Reigns” is a bit much, as it’s difficult to keep listener attention for that duration using this style of music. Beyond that, everything else is straight and to the point.
Those seeking some very nasty tunes that ride on the aesthetic of thrash metal but ultimately touch death metal, this is for you. Very early Kreator and Sepultura fans should dig this up immediately.