I don’t know what it’s like to be the only death metal band in my town, but Mutilated By Zombies sure does. Operating in a vacuum, outside of any scene or expectations, the Dubuque-based band has spent the past several years developing their own reverent take on the genre. Obviously indebted to the early ’90s Tampa sound, “Decimation Sentence” updates the form, but only slightly—and this is not necessarily a negative. The riffs are often in the mold of Cannibal Corpse, with complex lines that cycle through the song. The arrangements are consistently compelling and the transitions well-executed, and there is a noticeable lack of extended guitar solos. (In lieu of showing off, the band’s focus is on the song.) The guitar and bass are a bit thin in the mix in places; but the drums, played with great facility, are light years ahead of Morrisound production, and the vocal doubling and overdubs add a lot to the sound. I particularly dig the stereo panning on “Mock the Sun”—makes for a good headphone listen. It’s been cool to see and hear this band develop their skills over the years. “Decimation Sentence” is the end result of tons of practice and dedication to form, definitely an album the metalheads oughta pick up on.
This review originally appeared in Ruix Zine.