Morbid Saint have been absent from the scene for quite some time but their latest record, Swallowed By Hell, heralds the triumphant return of an underappreciated thrash titan.
Their studio output has been limited but their debut album Spectrum Of Death is a criminally underappreciated record and is a pivotal moment in bridging the gap between thrash and death metal. In 2024, it may seem somewhat crude and primitive but it remains an important record nonetheless.
Swallowed By Hell, feels like less of a sign of the things to come and more of a refined sound from a band that has been dying to get back on the scene. This is evident from the 0 to 70 start with ‘Rise From The Ashes,’ the majority of the Spectrum Of Death lineup is present on this record and it’s clear that they have honed their skills as musicians and songwriters over the years.
Swallowed By Hell is full of winding intricate tracks that shift from fantastic riff to fantastic riff but after a certain point, you start to feel fatigued from the incessant speed but that’s an issue with thrash in general. A minor criticism is that there are some fantastic tracks that seem to go on just a tiny bit too long at times, ‘Bleed Them Dry’ is a brilliant song full of sharp galloping riffs and would have been a perfect thrash track if it had been a tight 3 minutes.
Despite this, the best track on the album is the closer, ‘Psychosis’. This track feels like an early 90s Sepultura track with its ominous guitar work mirroring a siren accompanied by syncopated gallops that create this genuine sense of dread. The atmosphere throughout this album is incredible, it genuinely feels like the soundtrack to damnation on tracks like ‘Pine Tuxedo’ and ‘Burn Pit,’ both of which also make use of really catchy and intricate harmonised guitar riffs.
Older bands coming back and delivering some of the best material of their careers is a wonderful thing to see. Not only is it amazing to see these bands return with a fiery passion that hadn’t been tainted by a cynical music industry, but it’s also brilliant to see the new school of thrashers discover bands that have been gone for most of their lives.
Morbid Saint have taken their time releasing records but the wait was absolutely worth it and is sure to be one of the first big thrash releases of 2024.
Swallowed By Hell is available February 22nd 2024 via High Roller records.