Mortiis – “The Grudge”


Category: Industrial Metal
Album: The Grudge

I was familiar with the name of Mortiis. I hadn’t heard of his change from the ways of black metal, so I was a bit surprised upon listening to the album The Grudge, his latest (which he refers to as “Era 3”). Mortiis, with the help of his very cyber-looking backup band and Stephan Groth from Apoptygma Berzerk, amongst many other minor contributors, brings his rubber nose into the industrial-metal scene.

At the same time, it’s not terribly satisfying music. Though well-written in a chaotically proficient way, there’s something lacking in the presentation, something slight throughout that you can’t place your finger on, but seems somewhat hollow. You must give credit to the goblin-in-charge for having the initiative to break out with a whole new sound, really giving it a magnificent production sheen, and growing as a musician. But, still, his vocals are, at best, secondary and, at worst, grating. And the strange changes in the midst of songs, dropping from a hard electro-metal mishmash of sequencing and guitar directly into the midst of some gravely-voiced, lamenting, gothy black metal cliché, then back again, can often grow tiresome on those few tracks that he uses them.

For what it is, it has exceptional variety. Mr. Mortiis moves in totally different directions, delivers EBM-like sequence and drum lines as quickly as harder ones and keeps you guessing where he’ll move next, even though it all sounds like Mortiis. But the tracks rarely reach their full potential. Though when they do, you’re proud of the little troll. But much of the time the sequencing sticks to a certain tone and variety and the guitar comes in at all the same places in the same ways to give the album an over-homogenized tone.

One looking for metal-industrial or coldwave could do worse than to give this album a try. The worst you could probably say is that it’s clichéd, angsty, overwrought, and not terribly inventive in its instrumentation. Often it sounds like a demo a decent local metal-industrial band would put out before being signed. But, damn it, if that little prosthetic-covered man doesn’t deliver a few good mainstream industrial tracks, despite it all.

Keep going, Mr. Mortiis. I’ll never take the silly make-up seriously, but you’re on the right track.


from ReGen Magazine (~12/2004)