MANDATORY, Exiled in Pain (2008, Obliteration)

The skull:
This skull was walloped so hard that he flew right out of somebody’s face and somehow ejected his eye at an even greater velocity. This is pretty funny on its own, but you can see lots of other eyes in the background, suggesting that wherever this guy has been exiled, this sort of thing happens all the time. I imagine some infinite dimension of high velocity skulls (and their attendant eyes), all of them shrieking some variation on, “This is the worst!” But unless the skull launching happens from a single, central point, some of these skulls are going to start colliding, and then they’re going to learn the real meaning of pain!

The music:
Exiled in Pain collects all of Mandatory’s demos, which date from the early 00s but sound like relics of early 90s. Entombed are the primary influence, but the many slower sections sound like remedial Bolt Thrower riffs, and occasionally the band throws in some nods to primeval Florida death metal like Massacre. The production is more or less uniformly boxy and cheap, but that was probably by design, as Mandatory are clearly a nostalgia act. They’re not bad, but there were SO many Entombed knockoffs kicking around when that band was still great (which was a really long time ago), and pretty much all of of them are better on average than Mandatory, but if you’ve collected it all and you still need more Scandinavian death metal (even if it’s made by a German band) then Mandatory might be… something something… trying so hard not to make a joke about the band’s name… must… be… strong…
— Friar Johnsen

…an option. God damn it.

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