Mutilation Rites are a blackened metal band hailing from Brooklyn, NY. After multiple releases over the past couple years, they have returned with another solid 45 minutes of pissed off metal. I initially discovered this band while researching other artists recorded by Kevin Bernsten, who handled my band's last EP. I was really into the raw, black metal sound that didn't need a string section or keyboards to be ominous. Something that sets Mutilation Rites apart from other bands in the genre is the fact that they recorded all instrumentals live to tape. Save for some guitar overdubs and all vocals, what you hear on the records is the band playing these songs front to back in the same room.

Hours of practicing these songs comes through on the finished product, as grooves are tight and on point. The 45 minutes that comprises Harbinger varies from fast paced grinding fury to slower doom passages. Opener "Black Pyramid" wastes no time getting into a chaotic blastbeat and dissonant guitar riff. The guitars are saturated and heavy in the midrange, the drums are just high enough in the mix, as to not take attention away from the throat shredding vocals. I love hearing natural sounding drums on heavy records, and am glad to see maximum velocity drum triggers being used less and less. Vocals are essentially unintelligible, typical of the black metal genre. This is even more of a reason to pick up a physical copy on vinyl and read the liner notes while listening in a dark room. Harbinger is out now via Prosthetic Records.