Paul Hutchings takes on some Teutonic thrash from an old school German Thrash Band you may not of heard of!
Founded in Hann, Germany in 1986, Mortal Terror are one of the lesser-known German thrash bands. They have released five albums since their initial formation, and one listen to their latest release confirms that the five-piece have remained true to the ethos that emerged from the industrial heartlands in the 1980s.
Mortal Terror’s line-up in 2021 features original members stefan kunth (lead vocals) and Dirk Wieland (guitar and backing vocals), alongside drummer Jürgen Grauer, bassist Gerret Geilich and second guitarist Matthias van Geldern. It’s been nearly five years since the band’s last release, Creating Destruction, an album that disappointingly slipped under the thrash radar, but we’ve locked on hard to latest album Bite of the Underdog.
The first thing to say is that the album cover isn’t going to win any awards. The image of a slavering hound baring its teeth toward the outstretched hand in a dark alleyway works with the album title, but it’s no Derek Riggs masterpiece (I quite like the artwork – Editor). But hey, that didn’t stop Harlott late last year who also provided a stinker of a cover, so we shall quickly step over this obstacle and get our teeth stuck into the eight tracks that are on offer.
The snarling title track starts the album and instantly there is a deliciously raw old school feel which explodes from the speakers. Instantly recognisable as Teutonic thrash, there’s a glorious thumping style to indulge in. The tag team vocals of Kunth and Wieland works well, the rest of the band locked in tight as the track begins to increase in power. The stomping chug of solid thrash metal quickly shakes the walls, the band having nailed the mix and the production without sacrificing the important old school feel. My only complaint on the opening track is the strange pause which takes place around the four-
minute mark, a change in tempo that doesn’t really enhance the track. But that is small beer in comparison with the solidity of most of this album.
Die At Full Speed comes next, a track that demands kinship with the likes of Kreator, Destruction and particularly Sodom. There’s some crunching riff magic that adds to the driving pace, the lyrics are at times basic whilst the vocals are certainly an acquired taste. Luckily, they are right up my street with Kunth’s rasping delivery giving the songs a more bruising edge. To The End rips and roars, whilst The Black Church of Rock n Roll flips between some Maiden-esque duel guitar harmonies, racing solos and filthy thrash n roll.
It’s authentic, fiesty, and full of energy.
As the album reaches the business end, there is no let up.Hate For The Haters positively bursts with bile and aggression, the change in tempo providing the opportunity to slow things down for a few short seconds before the vocals give way to a solid solo which screams over the chorus.Closing things with one mighty powerful effort in the six-minuteWarheads, Mortal Terror demonstrate that whilst we automatically reach for the big four of Teutonic thrash metal, there are hundreds of epically good bands who have never quite hit the heights or got the breaks needed.Bite of the Underdog is a genuine, heartfelt album which has me wearily adding Mortal Terror to the list of bands that I need to explore more deeply
MORTAL TERROR – BITE OF THE UNDERDOG was released on December 18, 2020
Grab a copy at BandCamp