From the album cover of Violence, Fraud, Treachery it is pretty explicit in the fact that Mordax are going to be some form of death metal band. A five piece band who formed in Copenhagen in 2010, Mordax pride themselves on being a band who mix organic, catchy guitar lines and raw, raspy vocals – which although may sound simple, are really effective. Their vicious, brutish onslaught; which never falters throughout this debut album may sound at times generic and samey as some of their genre buddies but there is something special about Mordax. A thriving spark of energy that sets them apart from your average death metal band, making their songs larger than life and all the more hostile, making Violence, Fraud, Treachery one of the best underground death metal releases of all time.
Lead vocalist and all around hell raiser, Asbjørn Steffensen, has one hell of a set of pipes and from pig grunts to black metal screams his gnarly, turgid vocal onslaught really does hammer across hard through your speakers. He has a highly recognisable and distinct voice meaning when the powerful downbeat thud of tracks like ‘Trademark Strangulation’, ‘Devoured Life’ and ‘Silhouette of God’ kick in, you are instantly wowed and blown away by his crusty and stern vocal ability. He is one of the most underrated metal singers and every song on Violence, Fraud, Treachery gives him his moment to shine and let loose that monster of a voice of his.
For a death metal band, Mordax try to ensure every song on Violence, Fraud, Treachery is jammed to the brim full of melody. It is an album that doesn’t go full out brutal, keeping the tune recognisable and enjoyable, but still having tons of grit and power in every song. Tracks like the satanic occult drone of ‘Monarch of All’, the almost Nordic sounding chord progression of ‘Necrotic Hordes’ and the fierce 4/4 pump of ‘No Redeemer’ all have riffs, choruses or individual solos that make them memorable and it’s the fact that they don’t go full out brutal and they aren’t in your face that makes them so enjoyable to listen to.
The use of minor, diminished and flat chords throughout the entirety of Violence, Fraud, Treachery gives it an almost doom metal feel to it to. The slower, stodgier parts on the album are heavily reminiscent of early Cathedral, Candlemass and Electric Wizzard adding a real haunting and atmospheric effect to the album. It’s this diversity that sets Mordax apart from other bands and through this blend of various extreme genres really know how to write a song that appeal to so many different types of metal fans.
For a debut album, Mordax have done astoundingly well with Violence, Fraud, Treachery; setting the path for what can only be a long and bright (or dark as they would like to see it) future. This is an album chocked full of hearty, powerful, driving death metal anthems and we can only hope that Mordax’s next album will be as mind blowing as this release. [8/10]