Mortician And Malignancy Butcher Brooklyn All Night Long

BrainDead, Headrot, and Teloch Vovin join New York’s death metal elite as they slay into the dead of night.

Mortician And Malignancy Butcher Brooklyn All Night Long
Chris Krovatin
Jason Bailey

Brooklyn’s Lucky 13 normally feels massive and circus-like with its high ceilings, long bar, go-go dancers, and walls choked with horror movie merch and heavy metal esoterica. But tonight, the place is packed to the gills, and the brolic black-clad crowd of gore freaks makes the endless slasher memorabilia feel deeply appropriate. It’s not every night the city’s death metal underground get to witness one local legend, much less two, but this Saturday’s double-header of old-school horror metallers Mortician and tech-death maniacs Malignancy makes this a hot ticket for any self-respecting headbanger.

Lucky 13 is so crowded by doors that most people immediately fill the back room, which soon becomes humid with sweat and BO. BrainDead from the Bronx kick the night off with a rousing, thrashy blast of straightforward death metal, along with some hilariously dry commentary from frontman Ed M. Headrot (pictured below) change speeds a bit, playing burbling, mid-paced death metal that gets the crowd headbanging along and screaming in appreciation. Both bands provide a much-welcome foundation of the classic brutality that tonight’s audience are here for, and everyone eats it up.

Long Island’s Teloch Vovin seem to be more performance art than metal band--their stage set-up, including a full satanic altar, live candles, scythes, the band’s logo as a giant iron sigil, and a set of hanging chimes, feels a little elaborate given the night’s low-to-the-ground show, and the time it takes to arrange it all throws off the schedule. The band, doused in blood and throwing esoteric black magic hand signs, plays a set of off-kilter blackened thrash that also stands out in the line-up, but doesn’t quite deliver on the grandiose set pieces (the chimes are only played twice). Still, many members of the crowd enjoy the display, and horns are enthusiastically thrown in appreciation.

In stark contrast, Yonkers’ Malignancy look like four dudes randomly selected from the crowd, and play tight, brilliant technical death metal that finally sparking off the pit that’s been simmering in the audience all night. The band bounces, staggers, lurches, and bobs around the stage, donning the occasional Star Wars mask and blasting through no-nonsense renditions of tracks like Debilitation Morphology and Motivated By Hunger. Frontman Danny Nelson is as hilarious as he is enthused, regaling the crowd with wisecracks about weed, the scene, and how much he loved vagina. The set is much more the night’s flavor of choice, and gets the flagging crowd back in the game.

It’s 1:45am when Mortician finally take the stage, but the band’s legacy and diehard dedication to death have kept the crowd present and awake. Once they’re thoroughly shrouded in fake smoke – frontman Will Rahmer appears to have an NYDM cohort at the side of the stage just to control the fog – the band rip into a booming, gnarly set of gore metal, complete with lengthy horror movie samples. Deep cuts like Bloodcraving, House By The Cemetery, and the foot-dragging stomp of Zombie Apocalypse resurrect the crowd and whipping them into a frenzy. The room grows extra humid as the crowd expends their last flicker of energy showing Yonkers’ most crushing export that they were worth the wait.

With Mortician over just before three in the morning, the crowd splits down the middle – half of the audience hangs around the close out Lucky 13, while the other half spill out into the street and scramble for cabs. Though it ran later than your average show, the night proves that when your favorite band is totally dedicated to the underground, they’re worth waiting for, even into the freezing dead of night.

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