Album review: Mortuary Drape – Black Mirror

May all the witches (still) dance! Morbid Italian metal cult Mortuary Drape continue to weave a dark spell on enchanting sixth full-length.

Album review: Mortuary Drape – Black Mirror
Nick Ruskell

Watain singer Erik Danielsson once described Mortuary Drape as having all the qualities that came to mind when he thought of Italy: a sense of ceremony, incense, candles, catacombs and a grand sense of ritual. This is a worthy assessment. For over three decades, the Alessandria coven have made music with a truly occult atmosphere, while also keeping a sense of headbanging mayhem – Mercyful Fate with even more of the Devil in them, and even more haunting vibes. Their influence on the black metal underground – as well as Ghost’s Tobias Forge – both in sound and intent, has been huge, while the band have also managed to maintain a shadowy mystery.

Sixth album Black Mirror is another Satanic party that upholds their evil name. Though slightly cleaner and less rattling than on 1992’s landmark All The Witches Dance debut or 1997’s essential Secret Sudaria, there’s still a wonderfully musty, tomb-like vibe around haunting opener Restless Death, with its off-key piano intro and Candlemass-ish pace, or the funereal Into The Oblivion. The moments of more full-power metal mayhem, meanwhile – the thrashing The Secret Lost, Ritual Unction’s double-kick gallop, the blasting madness of The Unburied – show perfectly how enduringly good Mortuary Drape are at summoning evil through blackened, vaguely Maiden-ish riffs.

At their best, Black Mirror is as convincing as anything else in the MD canon that they are genuinely in league with dark forces. In this, it is a riot, morbidly enlivening and thoroughly banging. Once again, it’s time to go into the drape, and join the diabolic celebration beyond.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Watain, Mercyful Fate, Abysmal Grief

Black Mirror is out now via Peaceville

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