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Mortician (mor-'ti-sh&n)

One whose business is to prepare the dead for burial and to arrange and manage funerals.

Synonyms : funeral director, undertaker

According to the OED, the first use of the term was in 1895 by the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch on August 14, 1895.

We, Mank & Webb, are the only morticians in the city who do not belong to the Funeral Director's Protective Association.

Mortician are a death metal/grindcore group hailing from New York.

Originally formed as "Casket" by grunting vocalist and bassist Will Rahmer with former drummer Matt Sicher, they changed the band's name to Mortician shortly after their formation.

In 1991 Roger Beaujard joined Mortician as a guitarist, and later became the drum machine programmer after Matt Sicher was dropped from the band.

Mortician didn't release much more than demo tapings and tracks for compilation CDs until 1996, when they released their first album, House By The Cemetery. This release was the first (relatively) widely-available offering from Mortician. As with future Mortician releases, the album is loosely themed (around a haunted house) and some tracks feature a soundbite from an old horror movie at the beginning and end, setting a scene for the upcoming song and occasionally providing a piece of morbid humour for the listener. The tracks themselves feature Mortician's trademark extreme guitar down-tuning, the bone-rattling hammering of the drum machine and of course Rahmer's unintelligible but highly-effective lyrical grunting.

To date, Mortician have recorded the following full-length albums, all with Relapse Records:

  • House by the Cemetery (1996) - Themed around a Haunted House. This album is decently heavy but like the first album by a lot of metal bands, is quite unpolished.
  • Hacked up for Barbecue (1997) - Seems to be very loosely themed around 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'. Mortician come a long way in terms of production quality in this release and have a cleaner sound to them while if anything getting even heavier than they were in House By The Cemetery. Featuring twenty four tracks, this is Mortician's first 'full-length' release.
  • Zombie Apocalypse (1998) - At only ten tracks, this album approaches EP size but what it lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in quantity and for me this is Mortician's masterpiece with several very strong tracks. The songs vary from the very fast (Slaughter House) to the creepily slow (Zombie Apocalypse, F.O.D.). As the title suggests, the general theme of this album is about the undead walking the Earth and Mortician capture this idea sensationally with their musical style.
  • Chainsaw Dismemberment (1999) - A little more tightly themed around The Texas Chainsaw Massacres than Hacked up For Barbecue, this album is quite similar sounding to Hacked Up For Barbecue and while there are some exceedingly good songs in there, (Rabid, Slaughter House 2, Chainsaw Dismemberment, to name but a few) it isn't different enough for me to make it one of Mortician's better outings, although it was the first Mortician album I heard and made me want to buy more of them.
  • Domain Of Death (2001) - This one differs from the other albums as one can't put fit it to a theme as such. Nevertheless, Mortician have down-tuned their guitar even more and have actually included the odd slow song in there, which are beautifully executed in my opinion. My only small quibble with this one is that the movie quotations in the songs don't seem to be as memorable as the ones in the previous three albums.
  • Darkest Day Of Horror (2003) - This album is based on the annihilation of human life on Earth and a race of mutants taking over. This album seems pretty bland to me, and even though I consider myself a quite big fan of Mortician, I have to wonder whether Mortician need to change their approach somewhat. There aren't really any distinguished songs in here, and I would advise newcomers to Mortician not to bother with this one until later, and to start off with an earlier release.

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