|Recording information: Jim Barnes Studio, Santa Ana, CA (01/06/1993-01/09/1993); South Coast Recording (01/06/1993-01/09/1993); Jim Barnes Studio, Santa Ana, CA (06/1992); South Coast Recording (06/1992); Jim Barnes Studio, Santa Ana, CA (07/1991); South Coast Recording (07/1991).
|Californian doom brokers Morgion had the misfortune of timing their career with perhaps the grimmest period for heavy metal in American history: the grunge and alternative rock-dominated 1990s. So despite enjoying some meager recognition overseas and in the deepest, dankest underground, Morgion's distinctive musical vision went largely unappreciated in its time, and their influence was only fully recognized and absorbed by future artists following the band's latter-day decline. That influence resulted from Morgion's distinctly gothic interpretation of metal's most sluggishly extreme iteration, funeral doom, on seminal releases like 1996's Among Majestic Ruin and especially 1999's superlative Solinari; but, as 2012's enlightening compilation of early demos, God of Death & Disease, reveals, they not surprisingly started out as a rather typical and far more speed-obsessed death metal band. To wit, several offerings from 1991's Rabid Decay demo and 1992's Live Rehearsal, including "In the Process," "Chasm," and "What Dwells Upon Man," are uniformly fast, furious, and filthy, sharing pretty much the same aesthetic as contemporary death peddlers like Autopsy and Carcass, and even the final two songs collected here, "Wither the Storm" and "Nomads of the Dawn" (both drawn from 1993's Travesty EP), show very little sign of relinquishing their more traditional death metal hallmarks. However, a few notable tracks sprinkled in their midst, such as "I the Skeptic," "Gothic Decorum," and especially "Encased in Glass," with its undisturbed stark melodies and horn-like fanfares, finally see the band taking a few liberties with slower tempos, probably under the influence of early funeral doom pioneers like Winter, Thergothon, and Skepticism. All of which makes God of Death & Disease a captivating glimpse into Morgion's modest roots and formative development for any future band acolytes, but not all that enticing for casual listeners. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia