Morfin- Inoculation

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Saturday, July 12, 2014

California death metal band Morfin formed in 2010 and released their debut full length Inoculation earlier this year via FDA Rekotz. Like many of the other albums that label has been behind, this one offers up death metal that has a distinctively old-school sound. Morfin has taken quite a bit of influence from the Florida sound circa the early 90s, as Inoculation has that same type of crunchy bottom heavy sound and mixes up faster moments with lumbering grooves. Although the riffs do have a tendency to blur together a bit by the end, there is still plenty to like about these guys and they have established a solid foundation that can be further expanded upon on future releases.

One of the first things you’ll likely notice about this album is the production, as Morfin has achieved a recording style that makes it sound like these songs could have been released during the 1990-1993 timeframe. There’s the right amount of emphasis on the drums and bass, and the bottom heavy lumbering nature of many of these tracks will likely grab the attention of quite a few death metal fans. For the most part the instrumental work sticks with the familiar elements of the genre from its earlier days, blending the faster thrash tinged edge with mid-tempo grooves, but the guitarists do throw in some curveballs in the form of high flying solos that inject just a slight bit of melody into the mix. Morfin does their particular variant of death metal well, and for the first half or so of Inoculation there are plenty of moments to keep you interested in each track. But I did find that by the time the second half came to an end, there was a little too much familiarity to their approach. Compared to some of the groups that have inspired them, this band doesn’t quite have the same level of standout leads throughout their entire album. But they are definitely on the right track, and as Morfin continues to grow as songwriters I believe they’ll reach that point further down the road.

Vocalist Jesus Romero has the type of pitch that is perfect for the overall sound the band is going for. He has that familiar lower pitched growl that has a high amount of distortion and comes off sounding very aggressive throughout the course of Inoculation. There’s just the right amount of separation between the vocals and instrumentals, as Romero doesn’t ever get drowned out by the sheer weight of the bass and drums but instead seems to benefit from them as it feels like it makes the growls sound even fuller. The pitch does stay at around the same general range for the majority of the album, but it never felt like it was becoming grating or repetitive and remained a positive aspect of Morfin’s music for the entire release. Overall, Romero’s vocals are definitely a highlight of the group’s material for me, as it’s one of those pitches that I find appealing within this genre.

When it comes to this particular variant of death metal, I would have to recommend the album from Rude that FDA Rekotz put out recently over Inoculation, but Morfin’s debut is still worthy of a recommendation if you’re a fan of that early 90’s Florida sound done right and I would take that any day over the mindless blasting of some of the more modern sounding death metal bands. But with that being said, this feels like the best is still to come and I believe these guys are still on the verge of being a truly great death metal group rather than already being at that point with their debut.

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