I can genuinely say if I heard this album thinking it was a band I’d be excited about a U.K band (and being a yellow belly myself, one from Lincolnshire no less) I could really get into. But the fact this is the work of one man makes it all the more impressive.
He is signed to UKEM (United Kingdom Extreme Metal) records, a small independent label formed in 2011.
Listening to this I am left thinking, “no one else has brought any sandwiches or sausage rolls to this metal buffet, this guys gone all out on a culinary mission, and he still didn’t forget the quiche”. And I fucking love quiche. The tracks all have direction and creativity and all tick the boxes of what I think lots of thrash fans would look for; fast head banging riffs, skin melting solos and aggression.
Morti Viventi means “Living Dead”, the album is called “The Day the Dead Returned”, the sleeve depicts a Zombie holocaust and the songs are about……… puppies! Of course they’re not, they are obviously about Zombies.
The guy clearly knows his Zombies, in fact I bet he watches walking dead and is wondering why Rick Grimes hasn’t lost a hand and thinks “who are you Darrell?”. However he is still also thinking “Satan below, they’ve done a great job of this. (disclaimer: walking dead knowledge is not my own but stolen from someone else, do not hunt me down and kill me if this is wrong, you fanatical nutjobs)
And this is a good analogy of this music, because he also clearly knows his thrash and in the song writing he has successfully used all the great elements of classic thrash whilst giving it his own stamp.
Sometimes when metal is so heavily themed on a particular subject they get labels like “Pirate Metal” or “Viking Metal” but this is not a trend I like and I think it can sometimes deflect from the technical and song writing ability of a band. I believe this to be the case with Amon Amarth for instance. I hope it does not happen here, for me this album is balls out and swinging in the wind thrash, with some sprinkles of groove.
The Day the Dead Returned… opens with Hell On Earth, an all out thrasher. He has made a video, sadly not Zombie apocolypsey, but that gives an insight to the recording methods.
This is followed by the extremely impressive title track “The Day the Dead Returned”. It is an epic anthem with a great melody running throughout.
For me in this song the real magic happens happens half way through where it breaks into almost a new track. It has a slightly different direction and dare I say it, guitar parts I wouldn’t have been surprised to hear laid down by Dimebag! (Take a deep breath, yes I said it!)
Whorehouse of the Undead is a speed driven track with a great groove laden passage that really breaks the track up nicely.
“Maniac/Face the Shape has one of the best intros I’ve heard on any record in a long time. This possibly has the most hooky elements on the album. It would certainly get me in the pit in my local metal club, if i could lift my feet off the sticky floor enough to make my way to the dance floor.
“Spawn of Another Kind” returns to a more classic thrash sound with a strong solo and some well thought out riffing.
This then brings us into “The Arrival of the Anti-God” This is an instrumental piece and it us quite frankly brilliant. Very much a musical journey which could quite easily be a soundtrack to a Zombie Apocalypse.
Finally “Thrash Or Die” is a great way to finish the album, a fast aggressive track fitting of its title.
There are no faults I can pick at with this album. Having listened to it now in excess of 10 times, I’m not getting bored, I’m just finding more I like about it.
You can listen to it below, however I’d urge you to seek out and buy a copy or enquire with UKEM about another pressing. Buying it will support this great independent label as well as this excellent artist and encourage further releases.
Also, I think most metalheads will consider it money well spent due to the genuine quality of the album.