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Mortiis The Grudge Review

General Information:

Artist: Mortiis
Album: The Grudge
Genre(s): Industrial Rock
Subgenres(s): N/A
Released: 2004
Length: 47 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Earache Records

Track List:

01. Broken Skin
02. Way Too Wicked
03. The Grudge
04. Decadent & Desperate
05. The Worst in Me
06. Gibber
07. Twist the Knife
08. The Loneliest Thing
09. Le Petit Cochon Sordide
10. Asthma

Mortiis The Grudge Cover

Mortiis The Grudge Cover

Mortiis The Grudge Review

The Grudge is the 7th studio album by Norwegian artist Mortiis. It is the first album in the “Era 3” period of his career and is notable for being the album on which Mortiis evolved from a solo project to a full band as well as continuing the aggressive musical trajectory, which started out as long dark ambient songs before turning into angst-ridden synthpop and now industrial rock for the latest incarnation.

For a few seconds at the start of Broken Skin, the first song on The Grudge, you could easily be fooled into thinking that the use of synthesisers indicates a continuation of the synthpop sound found on The Smell of Rain. This is until short and sharp static bursts are injected to the mix and after a brief lull in the build-up Mortiis releases a long digitised scream with an assortment of synthesised noise before arriving at the first angst-ridden verse. This contrasts heavily with the chorus which softens up to ambient soundscaping with even-tempered singing over layered. While making use of the typical loud/quiet dynamic in rapid succession is certainly nothing new, what makes it impressive is how the two seemingly contradictory genres are woven together without making the listener think that they’re out of place.

Decadent & Desperate blends dance rhythms with heavily distorted guitars that explode into life with Mortiis shouting grotty lyrics that echo the songs title to make it one of the most intense moments on The Grudge. On the other hand The Loneliest Thing is almost a sort of industrial rock ballad that describes a woman stealing Gods light “to make her dark night turn in to day” before going into more antitheistic lyrics that touch on the absence of God when her refers to the light at the end of the song and says “and now she throws it away/when God has nothing to say/her God, she threw him away/he never had much to say.”

Fans of “Era 1” Mortiis will be pleased to know that The Grudge does in fact feature a short 2 and a half minute ambient song called Asthma at the end of the album that will entrance the listener quickly. It rounds off the experience in an unexpected but welcome way but it doesn’t necessarily have the same scope as the old dark ambient material Mortiis produced (mostly due to the short length which will leave you wanting more or playing it on repeat) and the more keen listeners will hear distorted voices and noises subtly planted in the background but it is easy to overlook them if you’re not paying attention.

The compositions cut out the excessive moments found on The Smell of Rain which makes The Grudge a more concise experience and Mortiis comes across as a much more confident singer and has expanded his range and style by quite a margin in 3 years. He also no longer relies on backing singers nearly as much although Louise Marie Degnzman Pedersen shares the bridge on The Grudge and has a much calmer presence when put next to Mortiis.

With The Grudge Mortiis will once again catch long-time fans off guard as his musical path progresses through different genres. He will have undoubtedly worked his way into a new niche audience of industrial rock fans at the same time and this album will certainly whet the appetite for future releases.

Performers:

Mortiis: Vocals, keyboards, synthesizers, programming
Levi Gawron: Guitars
Asmund Sveinunggard: Guitars
Leo Troy: Drums, percussion

Additional Performers:

Vegard Blomberg: Acoustic guitars, keyboards, programming
Endre Tonnesen: Bass on 1, 5, 7, 8 and 10
Magnus Abelsen: Bass on 9
Joe Gibber: Keyboards, programming
Louise Marie Degnzman Pedersen, Stephan Groth: Backing vocals

External Links:

Mortiis on Wikipedia
The Grudge on Wikipedia

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Mortiis The Smell of Rain Review

General Information:

Artist: Mortiis
Album: The Smell of Rain
Genre(s): Electronic
Subgenres(s): Synthpop
Released: 2001
Length: 51 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Earache Records

Track List:

01. Scar Trek/Parasite God
02. Flux/Mental Maelstrom
03. Spirit in a Vacuum
04. Monolith
05. You Put a Hex on Me
06. Everyone Leaves
07. Marshland
08. Antimental
09. Smell the Witch

Mortiis The Smell of Rain Cover

Mortiis The Smell of Rain Cover

Mortiis The Smell of Rain Review

The Smell of Rain is the 6th studio album by Norwegian solo artist Mortiis. This also marks the first and only entry of “Era 2” Mortiis in which he makes an unexpected transition from dark ambient music to synthpop.

This is also the first album wherein Mortiis assumes the role as lead vocalist and while he doesn’t possess the same vocal range or confidence that comes along further into his career, it’s not enough to outright dismiss his performance either. He also enlists additional vocalists including Sarah Jezebel Deva, of Cradle of Filth and Therion fame, for dramatic choral and solo arrangements that are laced together with straightforward distorted guitar work.

Scar Trek/Parasite God addresses contempt for God as Mortiis decries peoples willingness to “…sacrifice themselves/to the locust master, to the one that drowned the world” while saying “yet they crucify me,” presumably for having a simple difference of opinion on theological concerns. Many of the lyrics in other songs revolve around themes of alienation and angst while the final song, Smell the Witch, is more fantasy themed and less detailed in its narrative by comparison.

This is then followed by a two-part song found in Flux/Mental Maelstrom and Spirit in a Vacuum, which adds up to nearly 12 minutes between them, showing that Mortiis hasn’t lost his penchant for longer compositions in their entirety just yet. The long durations of many songs found on The Smell of Rain is also a point of contention due to the fact that they simply don’t need to be as long as they are and a more refined approach would have gone a long way in streamlining the overall presentation of the album.

Monolith breaks the synthpop framework for a dramatic piano and percussion driven number that brings the distorted guitar to the forefront for the bridge of the song and Everyone Leaves is a depressing synth-driven ballad that shows Mortiis at his most defeated as he describes the futility of loss found in the refrain in which he states “everyone leaves. In the end. Everything dies. In the end. It doesn’t matter how hard you hold on.” The build-up in the last minute of the latter song is merciful after around 6 minutes of mope but this song is easily the most stretched out.

Thankfully Mortiis bounces back from Everyone Leaves, particularly on Antimental and Smell the Witch. Both songs feature a cello and violin combined with the synthpop sound Mortiis has crafted but they are far more dramatic and intense than the other songs found on this album. The ending of the final track (Smell the Witch) is sudden but fitting and it will leave you with a good impression of The Smell of Rain, which will have undoubtedly alienated plenty of long-time Mortiis fans on its release but it is an important step in his musical evolution.

Performers:

Mortiis: Lead vocal, keyboards, synthesizers, synth programming, drum programming
Martina Binder: Additional lead vocal
Sarah Jezebel Deva: Vocal harmonies, soprano vocals
Mika Lindberg, “Raptor”, Suvi-Tuulia Virtanen: Alto vocals
Chris A: Guitars
Alzahr: Bass
Staffan Wieslander, Asa Anveden: Cello
Cecilia Lindgren, Johanna Wetter: Violin
Frederik Bergstrom: Tympani, percussion

External Links:

Mortiis Homepage
Mortiis on Wikipedia
The Smell of Rain on Wikipedia