Label: Rigor Mortis Records
Release Date: Out now
RIGOR MORTIS are:
Bruce Corbitt – Vox
Mike Scaccia – Guitar
Casey Orr – Bass
Harden Harrison – Drums
Two years ago, on almost this very day, Mike Scaccia, full name Michael Ralph “Mike” Scaccia (July 14, 1965 – December 23, 2012), passed away on stage while performing with RIGOR MORTIS, as part of vocalist Bruce Corbitt’s 50th birthday celebration show. This was a loss I took hard, Scaccia being, in my opinion, one of the greatest guitarists EVER. His passing occurred mere days after he finished laying down the last of his tracks for the first RIGOR MORTIS album since 1991. *(I remember picking it up along with HAUNTED GARAGE’s “POSSESSION PARK” cassette, at Tower Records, and another great punkmetal album of the particular period in time when punk and metal finally accepted their love and similarities), a ‘new’ subgenre rising from the darkest whiskey-reeking basements and cannabis smoke-infused garages: Crossover, and I personally think that RM’s first album helped open those floodgates of fury, singing songs about horror films and books, all with an actual with an audible growl to accompany the often (at the time) over-the-top lyrics.
I picked RM’s first self-titled album up (1988), based on the intense album cover and song titles alone — and it was one of those life-transforming records — the guitar work dropped my jaw to the floor with a tooth-shattering astonishment as to what I was hearing. The speed with which Scaccia rips at the strings, it’s still some of the fastest picking I’ve ever heard and to this day amazes me.
*But since about 1991 to the present, 2014, metal has changed so very much, too many sub-genres, too much showing off when the talent/entertainment value is virtually nil to begin with.
Well, rest easy my fellow mausoleum dwellers with a hankering for a taste of the old-made-new, RIGOR MORTIS’ Slaves To The Grave brings everything RIGOR MORTIS was, and stood for (horror, gruesome death, gallows humor, and the all around strange mostly) right back to where it left off — this time perhaps even more brutal. This album is a sheer assault of classic aural thrash-punk mayhem, maintaining their classic and trademark sound to the hilt. The opening track, “Poltergeist,” is my personal favorite — it is classic RIGOR MORTIS at their finest, the song catchy, brutal, kicking right in.
The album moves at an astonishing pace, feeling over before it almost started with it’s relentless speed and constant snare blasts and tortured audible growls that belt out their tales of rapey ghosts, serial killing, nature dying and revolting, rotting corpses and flies, necrophilia — and a VERY interesting set of completely unexpected closing tracks that creep from the album’s quite musically epic, and different, finale. Running together, they make for a strange tale of corrupt, evil, and ancient coliseums, and the ‘Mad Man” ruling over them, the bloodshed growing to ever increasing levels of violence, torture, and of course, gore. The tracks, “Sacramentum Gladitorum” and “Ludus Magnus,” have a somewhat GWAR-esque vibe (which would make sense, being as RIGOR MORTIS bassist Casey Orr was a major force in GWAR as “Beefcake The Mighty” for many, many years — he was the second “Beefcake”), and are a fitting end to one of punkmetal’s greatest reigning forces, and this final epitaph of a recording.
There is not a bad song on this album, and it really is something I never thought would happen, honestly, as all the members have multiple, constant other bands and projects going all the time, especially Mike Scaccia (MINISTRY, REVCO, BLOHOLE [RM’s straight up punk nome de plume, so to speak, some of which pops up here and there on this final album, of course]); this is THE original lineup and they’ve lost nothing in the way of power and fury. Soundwise, this is actually most reminiscent (to me) of their 1990 ep FREAKS — not a complaint, as I’ve loved everything this band has done, including this.
This is worth the money, is a modern metal masterpiece of oldschool fury, and while a tad bittersweet as MIKE SCACCIA really did go on to become a SLAVE TO THE GRAVE, is worth every million-mile an hour note.
How SCACCIA’s hand just never actually flew the fukk off his body while playing is beyond me.
R.I.P. MIKE, be the first zombie out, and dismember them all.
The Remaining members still perform Rigor Mortis music under the moniker “Wizards of Gore” in tribute to Mike Scaccia.
Vincent Daemon, writer and rabblerouser, can be followed on FB @https://www.facebook.com/vincent.daemon.1 , and join his blog The Writings Of A Depraved Mind @http://vincentdaemon.blogspot.com/?zx=e40931ba40511a11