Arizona’s Murkocet, which has nothing to do with the painkiller Percocet, are a blend of modern groove metal that should come off palatable to fans of acts like Lamb Of God, Slipknot, Gryn and maybe even Mushroomhead. Though there isn’t a true definition for the work murkocet, the band likes to compare it to aggressive and violent actions created by the user of this substance. (Perhaps it is a play on words for the drug Percocet after all?) The record itself comes in at eleven tracks (which includes a short intro and interlude) with song titles that range all of the way from three to five minutes, respectively. Though the majority of the music is definitely downtuned groove with scathing vocal nodes, there are some surpirisingly abstract backing riffs in the formula which nearly give it a psuedo-prog vibe in some sections, at least. I know that’s a bit of a mouthful, but this dose of technicality/prog (or whatever you want to call it) gives the band a bit of substance among similar acts, which is always appreciated.
I will say that the band utilizes entirely too many breakdowns in sections, but because of the vocal sections here, I find that I don’t mind these parts so unlistenable as I would in an act like Chimaira, especially around the time of ’09s The Infection (which I nicknamed The Breakdown, because that’s all it fucking was). Murkocet however, do not fall into this category and know how to keep me entertained with their very modern-tinged take on aggressive groove, even though I’ll admit that the record doesn’t really start to hit until later on in the listen and by then it has faded into the background a bit. At least that’s what happened while I was in the break room the first time. Even so, I cannot deny the simple fact that these guys just plain write great grooves.
There is a slight melodic interlude called “Tranquil” that hints at them being more than just a common groove act, but I’m going to have to see it put into motion before speaking out of turn on that one. Unfortunately, when you get to a song like “California Smile” the band doesn’t really do anything to make it stand out among the others, despite it being over five minutes of material. All that time is spent inhabiting just another groove track, with nothing really intriguing or different about it. “Overdose” has plays with a slower tempo and some technical riffs here and there, but there’s nothing in the piece that really has me boiled over with passion.
To make your purchasing decision easier, I just have to ask a few questions. Do you like modern groove metal? Do you like rapped lyrics? Do you like breakdowns? Because those three things are really the epitome of what you have here, and there’s really nothing wrong with that. Sure, I’ve heard better – this is a genre that I’ve been a fan of for about fifteen years now and I think Gryn’s Our New Earth and the majority of Lamb Of God releases would definitely top it. But in no way does that mean it’s bad, it just hasn’t exceeded it’s influences yet. There’s no doubt that fans of groove metal will eat it right up and I will say that it definitely makes for a jammable experience, but there’s not much else here to chew on. I don’t think that Digging Mercy’s Grave is one of the best modern metal discs out there, but it’s much better than some of the other crap that’s out there these days. I’d vastly prefer it to anything that Twenty-one Pilots are up to right now, that’s for sure. How is that even considered rock music?
(11 Tracks, 36:00)