Rigor Mortis

A fundamental innovator of both death metal and the black metal to come five years later, Rigor Mortis built both a theoretical and aesthetic foundation for much of the music to follow.

Rigor Mortis

Production: Although obviously designed for more rock style bands, this production nevertheless manages to capture the guitar tones and the drum precision behind this highly underrated band. There seems to be an unintentional tape speed shift in the first twenty seconds of the album.

Review: Delicate and savage this music tears from above to grasp the listener in the claws of complexity and melody, becoming one of the first contributions to modern death metal as the genre attempted to move beyond the rock n roll paradigm to find new methods of composition and development. The drums are rooted in the speed metal tradition but thanks to the wizardry of guitairst Mike Scaccia, Rigor Mortis transcend that rhythm with a complexity of fast picking and tremelo patterns interlaced together in a melodic style of compositional unification more common to classical music than rock, despite the popularized touches often evident on different tracks of this album.


1. Welcome to Your Funeral (3:31)
2. Demons (4:04)
3. Bodily Dismemberment (5:18)
4. Condemned to Hell (3:41)
5. Wizard of Gore (3:56)
6. Shroud of Gloom (2:43)
7. Die in Pain (3:56)
8. Vampire (5:00)
9. Re-Animator (3:23)
10. Slow Death (5:33)
Length: 41:07

rigor mortis the album by rigor mortis the band 1988 on capitol records including the work of mike scaccia a guitarist who later went on to work with ministry
Copyright © 1988 Capitol

Probably the band that first produced the sense of wrist energy that later propelled bands such as Mayhem to the forefront with their emergent attack of rhythmic genesis and recursion, these musicians utilize the high-speed shred of fast strummed chords to produce a fluid motion against which the counterpoint of drum rhythm and phrase transition creates a jarring but lucid transferral of energy to a different degree of power. Sawing melodic patterns create ambient classical music from their accumulation of tension from interjection of black metal-style chaotic patterns within dominant patterns reflected in an overall stream of tonal relationships that builds the foundation for each context in the meta-context of the overall contrast of dominant riff to song structure as an entirety. Brilliantly lucid, overflowing energetic lead guitar spills through harmonic space in a silvery powerburst of articulations in chaotic modulation that approaches a post-scalar method of understanding note relationships and presages the atonal developments in death metal shared by Morbid Angel and Suffocation.

No praise is too high for this band - they were relentless innovators who pioneered the future of black metal rhythm and death metal structure while emphasizing the underlying compositional differences between metal music and the more rock-based aesthetic alternatives in its history. Shouted vocals approximate a more enunciative version of the speed metal style and keep a link to the cruising bass and blasting percussion of the rhythm section. Highly recommended.

Metal Blade

Production: Loud and accurate representation.

Review: Taking their neoclassical speed metal further into its haze of frenzied melody in conflicted explosive phrases emphasizing an alienation of sound and rhythm based in an urgency of apocalyptic isolation, Rigor Mortis launch an EP of their most technical work with a central application of anthemic theme and violent dissolution into chaos. Based loosely in a progressive version of heavy metal done at high speed with a taste for the rawest, simplest riffs possible building into evolving structures of great complexity, this epic carries beauty through noise with structure and a sense of narrative behind its convoluted songwriting.


1. Freaks (4:58)
2. Cattle Mutilation (2:59)
3. The Haunted (4:59)
4. Six Feet Under/Worms of The Earth (9:49)
5. Chained In The Attic (3:09)
Length: 25:56

rigor mortis freaks which came out in 1989 on metal blade records
Copyright © 1989 Metal Blade

Often resonant in whirring sonority of whipping wrist lightspeed tremelo as it prepares for a rhythmic break, music adeptly recontextualizes itself through abrupt tempo and structural changes, following an inherent continuity to the resurgent nature of its cyclic components. More prominently the lead guitar of Scaccia is indulged here to satisfaction with swarming progressions of continuous yet multifacted theme as found on instrumental portions of the latter half of this release. Iteration of guitar strum at speeds of incomprehensible change allows harmonic overlapping to contribute to phenomenal presence of expected direction in tonal change in prescience of the technique Immortal and other black metal bands would apply. A useful footnote to this idea is the majestic and vastly unsettling "The Haunted," which despite its somewhat lunkish chorus makes sources of unfolding energy exchange and strength from simplicity.

In some ways built with one foot in the past and one in the future, this release expresses a tendency toward structure rising out of circular consistent-dynamic riff-based structures such as those found in speed metal or rock, yet keeps the older influence prominent in both structure and melodic sense. Overcoming this the raw musicality and passion of this music drives focus toward the emotional significance of metaphorical death worship in the midst of powerful antisocial metal.

Rigor Mortis vs. The Earth
Triple X

Production: Starched yet reasonable representation.

Review: Brilliant as usual in instrumentalism, Rigor Mortis return with an album that reflects the split in the band: while the epic guitar work arching above motion in connective structure is still present, it is buried between songs showing the "new" direction of primary creators in the band: fast goofy punk rock that bypasses beauty and structure for primal resonance in riff shape and rhythm. While this change continues the passion for value in the creative process, its aesthetic mixes poorly with the more neoclassical metal core of the band and creates something which, while it tries to be "fun," often overbears with its anthemic engagingly rhythmic and direct sound and in doing so, omits vital elements found on the first two Rigor Mortis releases.


1. Dying In My Sleep (2:44)
2. Mummified (4:46)
3. Throwback (3:53)
4. Contagious Contamination (3:10)
5. The Rack (6:25)
6. Psycho Therapy (Ramones cover) (2:24)
7. City in Fear (2:34)
8. Asphyxia (3:33)
9. Dead Fish (3:44)
10. SOG (6:06)
11. Speedwhore (3:35)
12. After of a Midget (S.Y.G.D.P.) (3:04)
Length: 46:00

rigor mortis vs the earth the third album from this texas death metal band came out in 1991
Copyright © 1991 Triple X

Guitars are racing demons of fury, frenetic in their fission and resulting intensity of energy, contained by a nurturing framework of speed throbbing drums and bass, encouraged by a stiff-throated vocalist who enunciates quickly with little inflection to his voice except emphasis on conclusions. So integrated are these pieces that details of voice, strings and percussive accents match, and while this inducts cohesion it also adds a certain amount of expectability and tedious emphasis on symmetry to chorus rhythm. Lead guitars rise above it all, finding a lyrical voice in psychedelic space rock racing through metal patternings of convulsive melody.

Screaming through its confusion a raw pathos of alienation, this release illuminates tracks like "Mummified," "City in Fear" and "Contagious Contamination" but balances them against direct punk tunes often reducing theme to slogan and music to a series of engaging but isolated loops. Although serious ideas often make an appearance there are humorous and anecdotal intrusions which show dissonance in band concept between its more punk work and the conceptual, often poetic metallic influence. Not essential except for Rigor Mortis collectors.

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