Morfin - Inoculation (2014)
Review by Trevor Proctor
California’s Morfin released their debut album Inoculation via FDA Rekotz on 21st February – Morfin is a four piece that plays old school/traditional death metal. Active since 2010 Morfin released their demo “Crystal Darkness” in 2011 and subsequently secured a contract with FDA Rekotz during 2013, enabling them to enter the studio to begin work on a full length album.
Morfin consists of Michael Gonzalez on bass, Miguel Hernandez on drums, Pedro Gonzalez on guitar and Chuco Mairen on guitar and vocals – all members were born at the beginning of the nineties, when death metal was in perhaps its most productive phase and growing rapidly worldwide. Inoculation was recorded at Executer Studio in Pico Rivera CA (Skeletal Remains), and the artwork for the album is the creation of Badic Art. Morfin’s music is heavily influenced by the early Florida death metal scene especially that of early Death and Obituary, testimony to this is the album’s closing track – a cover of Death’s track Leprosy.
Every modern band releasing traditional sounding death metal treads an extremely fine line between the success of achieving a quality, authentic, appreciated death metal sound or failing miserably and ending up sounding like a fraudulent tribute act destined for a future on the pub and club circuit. Fortunately Morfin have managed to achieve a credible sound without sounding like a modern day rip off - of course there are always going to be similarities between bands from the past and bands of the present but it’s a strange conundrum to contend with. Say for example a more experienced band like Obituary releases an album; you want it to sound like Obituary and to a certain extent sound like it did years ago; yet if a modern group releases death metal sounding in any way old school they’re accused of plagiarism.
Don’t get me wrong there are loads of bands out there who are merely poor carbon copies of acts from yesteryear and sound like ageing tribute bands but in my opinion Morfin do not fall into this category, to me they’re a band with a true passion for death metal and their passion is apparent when you listen to the music.
From the beginning of the album it’s apparent that Chuco Mairen has a voice perfectly suited to death metal, his guttural growls perfectly match the death and aggression emanating from the rest of the band’s music and at times the similarities in vocal style between Mairen and John Tardy are startling but this is no bad thing and certainly no one can question the conviction with which Mairen sings. Track three, Lethal Progeny is a definite highlight of the album for me and it’s a track where Morfin produce a sound similar to Obituary circa The End Complete or Cause of Death – crushing, chugging, catchy riffs, thumping bass work, and excellent guitar solos choreographed by Mairen’s fantastic vocals with the pace dictated by the exceptional drumming of Hernandez - in fact this is what Morfin have achieved across the duration of the album. Leprosy is a cover track very faithful to the original and to me it’s merely Morfin tipping their hats and paying respect to the one of the greatest death metal bands of all time rather than ripping anyone off.
1. Evil Within.
2. Dark Creator.
3. Lethal Progeny.
4. Identity Killer.
8. Brain Control.
9. Viral Mutation.
Inoculation is released by FDA Rekotz, and is available now.