Mongrel’s Cross – The Sins of Aquarius (Hells Headbangers Records)

Australian and Antichrist!
Release Date: 
3 Jul 2012 - 12:30pm

The aforementioned reference to Destroyer 666’s song isn’t unfounded. It’s been largely known that one the countries which has the greatest bulk of excellent underground acts is OZ. Cemetery Urn, Grave Upheaval, Vomitor, Denouncement Pyre, just to name a few are in my list of cult death/black/thrash bands. 

So when an Aussie friend of mine gave a heads up about Mongrel’s Cross I lost no time and went on my quest to find their two demos, the self-titled Mongrel's Cross and the second attack Whoresanna and I kept on dreaming of the day this band should release a full-length.

So it was with extreme excitement but no surprise that I discovered that Hells Headbangers would finally release The Sins of Aquarius, since it seemed to me that the encounter between HHR and this great Aussie name was just imminent. 

And here’s the result: One of the most solid, heavy, legit death metal releases of the year!

The opener Sins Of Aquarius has an intro and then in no time, Mongrel’s Cross show what they know best: Unrelenting death attack with no signs of modern plastic metal. The dingy production, the spacious doom-laden phrases that turn into unhinged velocity is a pattern that will prevail along the whole listen of this magnificent opus.

Rabid Inception shows a delicious and ominous rifferama that only die-hards will appreciate in full. The vocals are desperate and guttural at times. The cavalcade-like drumming and axes are a guarantee of quality headbanging, the fretwork is competent with plenty of solos to delight the purists.

Led them From the Promised Land starts with a great soloing and after an “intro” on the vocal field the song takes off and every block of phrases add a brick to this solid fortress of traditional metal of death.

However, Hunter of the Born Again has a more attractive structure and the riffs are earworms, the noise and heaviness amounts to tons of malicious music. The crossover between death and black and the subtle changes of tempo brings forgotten 1990’s feelings obliterated by years of plastic-produced albums: this is what death metal used to be in the old days KIDS! This tune is the best of the album.

Indulge the Temple brings brutality to the forefront again, and the pattern intro riff+ solo and then vocals in another tempo starts to become a constant and it is definitely the identity of the band. I can’t help but SING THE RIFF in the middle to end part of the song. Impressive!

The penultimate storming Revelations Transpire is another classic, and another pattern is noticeable thence: that the songs from the second part of the CD have more hooks than the first three. Bottom line: the album just gets better and better as time goes by. 

The seventh, last and longest track of Sins of Aquarius, When the Dragon Gives Birth is an epic march of glorious antique death metal. Doomish riffage gives place to a brutal commando, and the crescendo of thrashings is intended to kill, not to only cause harm. Protect yourself, for it is the most noxious song of the album. 

The artwork is opulent as well and adds heaps to the final product.

If Mongrel’s Cross have one single flaw, is that they are underrated as fuck, but I sincerely hope that this injustice shall be repaired soon. “Australia's next big thing” I read somewhere on the internet about Mongrel’s Cross: Truer words may never have been spoken.