My ears are ringing like mad. Last night at the Metro Gallery in Baltimore, I caught Mutilation Rites play a ripping set that could be called loud in the same understated way that a Boeing 747 landing on your face could be called loud. Fuck. Ing. Loud. The performance was enveloping, engulfing, overwhelming, and it was played in front of a red-lit curtain that gave the whole stage a strong Black Lodge vibe.
After forming in 2009, NYC's Mutilation Rites wasted no time drenching the listening public in their terrific brew of blackened destruction. When Prosthetic Records dropped the band's album Empyrean in 2012, many journalistic panties were wettened, many heads banged.
Now, Mutilation Rites exhales Harbinger, a decimating follow-up that writes a new chapter for the Rites and gives those heads something else to bang to. It's their second for Prosthetic, and its terse, spiteful tones were mastered by the fingers-in-all-pies James Plotkin. We here at Decibel are certainly grateful, and you should be, too.
The album won't be available for another week (unless you were at last night's show), but you can get it all here today on the Deciblog. Don't say we never did anything for you (unless you were at last night's show). Also, you can read guitarist/vocalist George Paul's succinct thoughts on the time between these two monster records. Breathe in the wretched fumes of callous city living, then please... go forth, and "Contaminate."
When we interviewed you at the time Empyrean was released, you suggested that your location (Brooklyn) and a lot of personal negative feelings had an impact on the way the music turned out. Is this any more (or less) acutely the case on Harbinger?
I think that will always be the case as long as we stay in New York. It can be a mean city if you let it bog you down. It’s not as dramatic as people would like to imagine it. I love this city, but it can be cold, indifferent and unforgiving.
What would you say drove the creative process, both musically and lyrically, on the new record?
The album is about warning signs. Red flags of emotionally abusive relationships, substance and alcohol abuse, suicidal thoughts, etc. It’s not that different from what Empyrean is about, but I just don’t use Dante as a metaphor for my lyrics on this album.
What has been the impact of touring in support of Empyrean? Any other bands you really enjoyed sharing the stage with? Do you think your playing style or focus has shifted at all?
We’ve been able to some amazing things since releasing Empyrean. I’ve played some shows I never thought I would be able to do, including Maryland Deathfest. Touring with Skeletonwitch was awesome for us – those guys are the best. I don’t really think playing out has changed our style at all, I think maybe we just think a lot more about what our live set list of songs should be, keep energy up, etc.
Is there anything you’re really enjoying listening to right now?
I’ve been listening to the newest Teitanblood album, Death, a lot. Also the last Pseudogod and Dioclecian albums are pretty ripping. The last Clandestine Blaze album was pretty great as well.
Do you have any favorite moments or songs on the new album?
The last song “Conspiracy of Silence” is my personal favorite I think. We kind of scrambled to put that one together right before going into the studio and I really like how it came out. Besides that, I think “Contaminate” is my other favorite song.
CD, cassette, and vinyl preorders of Harbinger are available through Prosthetic Records here.