PAX MORTIS, My Belief (1993, demo)

The skull:
Is there really a second piece of death metal artwork from 1993 that places some skeletal feature inside a peace sign? You will, of course, remember Heartwork by Carcass. You will probably not, however, remember My Belief by Pax Mortis. Still, they have something in common in regards to their artwork concepts. The Pax Mortis cover art features a skull placed over a peace sign in considerably less artistic fashion than the spinal column thing used by Carcass and H.R. Giger. But hey, Pax Mortis probably couldn’t afford the likes of Giger, so give ’em a break. And what is their “belief” exactly? It’s difficult to suss out based on the artwork alone, but I’m guessing they believe in peace yet are expressing disappointment that skulls keep disturbing that peace for everybody else. Could that be it? I don’t have a whole lot to go on here, people.

The music:
This band’s profile seemed fairly high in the heady underground death metal demo days of 1992/1993. Listening to My Belief, I can’t quite figure out why. The sound quality is worse than the norm, even for back then, and the vocal shouts are way too overblown. The dudes exhibit terrific command of their instruments, admittedly, but the arrangements are haphazard, as if written by someone with extreme Attention Deficit Disorder. While it probably sounded innovative in 1993, all those acoustic interludes and symphonic (keyboard-generated) passages seem a novelty, bits crammed in where they just don’t fit. The proverbial square peg in a round hole. Pax Mortis are, rather unsurprisingly, forgotten today, and while their ambition is noted, as is their stance on animal rights — two things I’ll always award a few extra points for — Pax Mortis were semi-interesting while they lasted, but nothing more. Please note that the title track is not a cover of the Possessed song, even if that would have been sorta cool.
— Friar Wagner

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