Music about zombies... What would be the most idealistic musical style for depicting them? There is one style above the rest, and of course it is death metal. Italian Warmblood offer some of it on their second album 'Timor Mortis'.
I personally am a zombie freak. I love those weirder brain-eater flicks such as 'City Of The Living Dead', but also more realistic (hmmm..?) ones like 'Dawn Of The Dead'. For me, the musical presentation of zombies is a good whiff of tomb stench among all that brimstone-smelling satanic twaddle.
I see 'Timor Mortis' as a reverence to Lucio Fulci and other Italian zombie / horror movie directors, which transpires straight from the start as the short intro sets the atmosphere with a lovely piece of piano music and sound effects. Contrary to the rich soundscape of the intro, the metal music part sounds somewhat flat. There is a simple reason for it: There is no bass guitar on this album! The drums sound way too machiney at times, and the rhythm guitar cannot pad the lack of a bass guitar all the time. See, there is a lot of harmonic guitar playing, and those moments bring forth the problem about the missing bass most clearly. So, the production, while being distinct, is the worst flaw on the album, together with the missing bass guitar. They lost their bassist some time earlier, but it still beats me that why they did not get a new one, or why didn't either of guitarist play the bass parts.
For a big part, Warmblood's death metal sounds very much North American. I'd say it's something like a mixture of Cannibal Corpse and Dying Fetus with twists. These twists are what make Warmblood Warmblood. Good use of melodies, that remind me of those Italian zombie flicks, are pretty often heard. Sometimes there's Arch Enemy style melody work happening, sometimes classical music based. Sometimes the music borders Death with its technical edge. The spirit of old school death metal still hovers above the music. There's even a beautiful, melancholic interlude, which was not rare on ancient death metal albums.
Vocals consist of two styles. Nasty, powerful throaty growl is the main thing. Guesting pig screamer get's a quite a big part, too. I've never grown into this style! Okay, they fit in because of the album's main theme. Plus, there is a few lines of female vocals on the melodic part of the closing song, 'Among the Living Dead'. There are other lyrical themes too, a song against Catholic religion, and 'Lost in the Beyond' and 'Revenge from a Comatose State' pretty much tell everything. Generally, the lyrics represent nothing new to the scene.
'Timor Mortis' offers nothing new to death metal scene either. It is a quite enjoyable slab of living dead meat with occasional surprising moments, that really give Warmblood at least a slightly bit of character of their own. Not bad!
Rating: 6+ (out of 10) ratings explained
Reviewed by Lane