Review – The Lustmord: Trapped in Purgatory

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Review – The Lustmord: Trapped in Purgatory
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The Lustmord: Trapped in Purgatory
Black Metal, Death Metal
Lustmord Entertainment
May 3rd, 2014
Release length: 23:32
Myspace
Sound Click
Phoenix, Arizona’s Black/Death Metal group The Lustmord formed in 2000, and since their debut album Blutverlust a year later have been working hard to make themselves known in and around their home state. Overall, three full-lengths, two demos and an EP have been issued, but still the band remains under the radar. For 2014 they present a new six song EP titled Trapped in Purgatory, which seems to have been released by the band themselves. But does it stand as a solid effort in that growing genre, or is it something you can easily pass up?

“Trapped in Purgatory” kicks off the release with a cluttered mess of horrible sounding raspy vocals and some catchy riffs. The bass kicks sound horribly thin, meanwhile the cymbals are much louder, a constant issue through the EP. This one seems to mix in some Melodic Death Metal ideas with a standard Death Metal foundation, and overall it isn’t too bad, but pales in comparison to “They Call to Me.” The tighter Black Metal chords and additional bass presence, including the solo about a minute and a half in sounds fantastic, but shortly after comes a burst of speed with drums that sound like they were just edited with copy and paste in pro-tools, finding those cymbals a bit louder and awkwardly stopping and starting, making you lose what respect for the quality that exists immediately.

“Shadows of the Sun” has a nice thicker audio quality to it that accentuates the group’s Black Metal sound better. Much of the song is very brooding, picking up speed to lash out with a strong hatred lined with some blast beat energy that thankfully pulls the click of the bass kick more to the forefront. Even the bass guitar plays more of a vital role to the overall performance, making this one of the stronger offerings next to “Blood Flows Red.” For the Death Metal tracks, this one holds up a lot better thanks to it’s mid-tempo Six Feet Under groove. There isn’t too much to be said about this one other than it surpasses the boring Heavy Metal-esque galloping that is “In One-Hundred Years.” It’s an emotional track that seems to be confused on whether it’s meant to be ominous or depressing, not to mention the music itself barely has any life other than the richer buzzing of the chords in the chorus and the Santana grade bass twang passages, a reference pushed with the additional chimes used behind the simple laid back rhythm and matching cleaner chords.

The most damning part about Trapped in Purgatory is the audio itself. This EP sounds like something you would expect from a bar band, and not a group that has been releasing material since 2001. The music often sounds rather weak despite the mixture of blunt and somewhat sharpened distortions, the vocals stick right out over everything, and the crisp audio quality sounds a bit distant. This makes up the first four songs, as well as the last. “Zombie Disease” also sounds like the speed had been altered in the studio a bit, feeling unnatural to an organic performance. The keyboards on that track also come off loud, cheesy and comical, a great contrast the largely drowned out melodic Black Metal notes buried in “Shadows of the Sun.” And let’s not forget the sudden jump to a rawer quality on that one. It sounds a thousand times better than what makes up the other five, but with how random a change it ends up being it just screams “Hey, this is a straight forward Black Metal song, so we want it to sound as cliche as possible so we sound better in comparison.”

Let me put it this way: Nearly everything about Trapped in Purgatory is absolutely horrible on so many different levels and breaking it all down in one review would essentially make this a two to three page essay. If Trapped in Purgatory were a first or even second demo from a newly formed band, this would be forgiveable, but this is a group that’s gone past the ten year anniversary mark. To issue something that not only has mediocre to boring songs on top of such a terrible audio quality with obvious major studio alteration makes you wonder why someone in the band didn’t step up and say “This is embarassing, it hurts us as an established act, we shouldn’t put this out,” or at least get the money back for the time spent in what sounds like a home studio that probably charged five times more than if the band went to any half competent producer or engineer with a decent background. If Trapped in Purgatory is your first outing with The Lustmord, one spin will make you never want to venture into their back discography, and even lose respect for them due to how they went out of their way to try to make themselves sound better than they clearly are. Yes, it’s that bad, and honestly the members of The Lustmord should feel completely embarrassed bad for releasing this and thinking it was even remotely good.

01. Trapped in Purgatory – 2:31
02. They Call to Me – 3:09
03. Blood Flows Red – 3:08
04. Zombie Disease – 4:04
05. Shadows of the Sun – 4:20
06. In One-Hundred Years – 6:21
Initial Pressing Score: 1.5/10

The Lustmord
The Lustmord

Digital review copy of this release provided by Lustmord Entertainment via The Metal Detector Promotions.