There seems to be a retro movement going on on the Swedish metal scene. With bands like Mr. Death and the return of Vomitory and Desultory, the Stockholm death metal sound of the 90s is on its way back, and Bullet, Portrait, Ram, Wolf, and Enforcer dabble in classic 80s metal, and bands like Graveyard and Noctum go even further back to metal as it sounded in its infancy in the late 60s and early 70s. Obrero belong to this last category, as the draw extensively on proto-doom metal and all its blues-tinged psychedelic darkness.
While Graveyard draw more on Southern rock (and Led Zeppelin), Noctum's main influence seems to be Black Sabbath; Obrero are more widely encompassing, drawing on both British proto-doom and Southern rock. Although Obrero logically never reaches the slowness of acts like early Cathedral, Winter or Mournful Congregation, most of the tracks on the album – such as 'The Fourth Earl', 'Octaman', 'Charles the Hammer' and 'Exterminate' – do contain crushingly heavy passages, many of which are also characterized by a fat Southern groove. Even more uptempo tracks, like 'The Wolf's Hook' are played slowly enough to come across as quite heavy, but still fast enough to not lose their groove and energy.
True to the genre of early doom metal, a certain dark psychedelia is ubiquitous on Mortui Vivos Docent, and the fuzzy guitars and blues-tinged grooves help further establish the same kind of dark quasi-psychedelic feel that is also found on Pentagram's early releases. Apart from the Sabbath, Pentagram and other early doom influences, there are several passages on the album that make me think of Trouble's Manic Frustration - especially the raw vocals.
Mortui Vivos Docent is a very strong release with an authentic fuzzy sound and lots of doom, gloom and groove. Fans of original doom metal should definitely check it out, and it may also appeal to fans of Southern rock, sludge metal and heavy psychedelic rock, and due to the modern touch that Obrero have given their music, fans of more recent doom metal and perhaps even alternative metal might also like it.
1. The Wolf's Hook
2. Son of Tutankhamun
4. The Fourth Earl
7. Charles the Hammer
9. The Lost World