Mortification is a great example of "sticking with it". This band has consistently put out album after album for over a decade. The only thing that slowed them down was Steve Rowe's battle with leukemia, and even that was barely a speed bump in slowing the release of albums, which come at a pace only second to Tribus (who put out 3 in the last year)! Unfortunately, the debate has became fierce lately as to whether they should even be putting out albums. Many are still furious with their decision to abandon their death metal roots. It's probably something Mortification will always have to deal with. If they had only changed their name to Lightforce when they changed styles they would've have avoided lots of criticism, but then again, the name Mortification was so recognized around the world, that this would've been a bad marketing move. Personally, I'd love to see a return to the days of "Scrolls of the Megilloth" and "Post Momentary Affliction", but with Steve closing in on 40 years old and the main death instigators (Michael Carlisle and Jayson Sherlock) long gone, this is nothing but a pipe dream.
So basically, our only choice is to reluctantly forget the past, and give our honest opinions of the present without beating a dead dog. "The Silver Cord is Severed" is probably one of Mortification's best produced albums yet. This is one thing that the band seems to be heading in the right direction on. Despite missing the extreme death beginnings, I will say that I like the "metallic" feel of their current style. The raw, metallic sounding guitars, the rumbling bass that is always audible, and now a much improved drum sound due to the newest member, teenager Adam Zaffarese, sound pretty decent. Overall, this album is much more interesting than "Hammer of God". "Hammer.." started off good, but really got monotonous after hitting about song four or five. "The Silver Cord is Severed" shows a band that took a lot more time in getting it right. Lincoln Bowen keeps things flowing good with lots of great leads and solos. Steve's vocals, although far from my favorite style are getting stronger by the album since his battle with leukemia. He even went back on his promise to never incorporate death vocals again. After "Hammer..." he said that that album contained his last ever death vocals, but in the title track and "Access Denied" he gives us a few lines of growling. Steve's main argument with his current vocal style is that he wants listeners to be able to understand the vocals, especially at concerts. This is a noble argument, but he's lost so many fans that there might not be as many people to listen, even if the vocals are discernable. Truth is, I used to love Mortification's lyrics and I read over the lyric sheets over and over and had tons of songs memorized as I growled along with Steve on many trips back and forth to work. Now that I can understand them I rarely ever find myself digging into their lyrics. The lyrics, while I agree with them and they are very bold, can be overly simple and even borderline cheesy at times. Take the song "Bring the Joy" for instance. For one, a metal song by this name is sure to get tons of laughs, especially among non-Christians who happen to stumble across this band. Lyrics of "Bring the joy with the power of sound/Shout it out loud/On volume ten!" make me want to lower the volume when sitting at a stoplight with the windows down. Nothing wrong with finding joy in Christ. That should be a very important part of a Christian's life, but in a metal song it just clashes with the agressive style of the music. Especially when you incorporate lyrics like, turn it up to volume ten, or something. Sounds like what you'd hear on a rap album, like....wave your hands in the air...and garbage like that. I greatly admire Steve's desire to spread the gospel and I'm very thankful for all he's done in Christian metal, but I think he can do much better lyrically if the past was any indication of his talents. If you looking for the best songs here, I would probably say "Access Denied" and "Standing at the Door of Death".
Anyways...Mort has put out a decent album here with a nice raw sound. It is a step up from their last release, but still at a level that will do very little to catch the ear of the non-Christian crowd. The songs just seem to simple to "wow" anyone to the point of taking them too seriously. And to top it off, despite changing to a really cool new logo, they ruined it with a mega lame album cover. I think Steve still has another roaring Mortification album in him, but I doubt he'll ever let it out. In fact, I can almost guarantee it. Word as it their next album will have some death metal songs on it. I'm not gonna hold my breath. It you like their current direction that really started going strong with "Envision Evangeline" then you'll dig this album. If you still prefer the old days and wanna punch Steve for ever changing than you better just ignore this album and move on down the road. (Review by Matt)