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Monday, 30 July 2018

Reviews: Mortiis, Construct Of Lethe, Mist, Sunstorm (Reviews By Paul Scoble & Paul H)

Mortiis: Perfectly Defect (2018 Reissue) (Omnipresence) [Paul Scoble]

Mortiis; the band and alter ego of Havard Ellefsen, have been going since 1993, when Ellefsen was sacked from Norwegian black metal legends Emperor. Although, this is the one piece of trivia that most people know about Mortiis, it’s really just a footnote in the carrier of one of the most important industrial acts we have. Mortiis was a solo act until 2001, when Ellefsen expanded Mortis to a full band for the album The Smell Of Rain, and so that live gigs could be a possibility.

Perfectly Defect was originally released as a free download in 2010, and apart from a small limited run only available at gigs, has never before been available as a physical release. So, why should anyone pay money for an album that was originally given away free? Well, you’d be getting an extra 4 tracks that weren’t on the original album, but were recorded at the same sessions as the original material. This brings the album from 40 minutes to just over an hour. Usually, this is worrying, as it signifies that the album has songs on it that weren’t good enough for original release. But in the case of Perfectly Defect, this isn’t really the case. The quality on this album feels equivalent all the way, there are no glaring dips in standard. I think the missing tracks on the 2010 release were probably down to the length of the album, and download speeds in 2010.

The album features 2 main styles of track. The majority are in a Combichrist/Nine Inch Nails industrial style, with a fairly standard song structure. The other main style is in a more Dance music style. The tracks Thieving Bastards and Hermaphro Superior sound like they are straight off the Prodigy album Fat Of The Land. The more Industrial songs are really good. Great melodies and very strong choruses, mean they properly get into your head, you’ll be humming the tunes to distraction. There are other influences on here other than just industrial, the track Sensation Of Guilt has a definite Dub feel to it, which adds an extra dimension to the album.

One of the main reasons you might want to spend money on an album that is 8 years old, and was originally given away for free, is that it is really good. Great songs, and thumping bangers, what more could you want. Great Album. 8/10.

Construct Of Lethe: Exiler (Everlasting Spew) [Paul Scoble]

Construct Of Lethe are a 3 piece Death metal band from Virginia in the US. The band was put together by Tony Petrocelly in 2010, to record material from Petrocelly’s older, now defunct bands; Bethledeign and Xaoc, although Construct of Lethe quickly became an original project in it’s own right. The band, completed by Dave Schmidt and Patrick Bonuin, have produced one EP (The Grand Machination) and an album (Corpsegod) before the album Exiler.

The album features 7 tracks of hard, dense technical death metal. This is a style of technical death metal, that is much more in a Dying Fetus, De Profundis style, than in an Obscura or Alkaloid style. This is technicality used to make the music harder and more extreme. In some places the band go in a Gorguts direction, using super technical rhythms to push the extremity. Don’t get me wrong, though. This is a very musical album, the solos are fantastically tuneful, and add a definite respite from the tough, discordant rhythms. The drums, as well, are terrifically well played, and really add to this album.

What makes this album stand out from a lot of technical death metal, and death metal in general, is the quality of the song writing. The songs have clearly had a lot of work done on them so they work as songs, rather than as ‘4 minutes of our style of technical death metal’, which is how a lot of this sort of metal comes across. After a few listens, you know which track you are listening to as soon as the song comes on, rather than having to look at the song listings. The album has a great flow to it, which does make it stand out amongst its peers. If you are looking for a hard, tuneful, well played and written technical death metal album, well, you’ve found it! 8/10 

Mist: Free Me From The Sun (Soulseller Records) [Paul H]
If there was a more appropriately named album now, then I’d love to read it. My Forest Continues To Burn, A Day Without Damp Underwear? Maybe not. For those who read the gibberish I write, you may recall that when Newport’s finest, Skindred were tearing up the main stage at Bloodstock in 2017, I had nipped into the Hobgoblin New Blood Tent to check out Mist, a doom metal outfit from Ljubljana, Slovenia, who impressed me greatly. Free Me From The Sun is the band’s debut release, and it’s a brilliant 50 minutes of sheer misery. Wave after wave of gloom filled riffs, punishingly evil drum patterns and the haunting vocal of Nina Spruk, whose depth and range blew me away when competing with Benji Webbe last summer. 

Opening track, The Ghoul drips with angst and melancholic depression, and the album maintains the evocative shadowing throughout. With more than a nod to the godfathers of doom, Candlemass, as well as the inevitable meandering riffage of Sabbath and Trouble, this is a stunningly well executed doom metal release which deserves massive exposure. Tracks such as Altar Of You, Ora Pro Nobis are powerfully imaginative, whilst Blaz Tansek’s gargantuan Iommi style riffage on Disembody Me is huge, thunderously heavy and just superb. I’m putting this album in the November playlist; hopefully the funeral march will feel slightly more comfortable with black clouds and bone chilling temperatures. Ignore the heatwave and get on board the doom train. This is just brilliant stuff. 9/10

Sunstorm: The Road To Hell (Frontiers Records) [Paul H]
For many, the road to hell could be being locked in a room with melodic AOR style rock music being piped at you. I wouldn’t go that far but if melodic keyboard/guitar duelling complete with saccharine coated vocals would make you confess to a murder, then the fifth album from Sunstorm may well be one that would reduce the need for thumbscrews.

The main man here is Joe Lynn Turner, average vocalist with Rainbow, stand-in for two years in Deep Purple as well as Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force and Fandango. Yeah, its not the most impressive CV in the world but he certainly has a decent set of pipes in the world of AOR. Alongside Lynn Turner, who suffered heart problems earlier this year is Alessandro De Vecchio on keyboards, Simone Mularoni on guitar, bassist Nik Mazzucconi and drummer Edo Sala; three of whom worked with Lynn Turner on 2016’s Edge Of Tomorrow.

The Road To Hell is a polished, composed and very safe affair, full of refined melodic hard rock, gorgeous chorus harmonies and flashy lighters aloft tunes. The ghastly Everywhere fulfils the required rock ballad, whilst tracks such as Calling, My Eyes On You and the title track will either excite you or make you dry heave. Listening to this album is like eating a giant bar of Toblerone in one go. The initial sugar rush quickly replaced by a slight nauseous feeling which you address by ramming more of the triangles into your cake hole. A queasy feeling that you can’t quite resolve. I think I’d rather eat the Toblerone than listen to this too often, although there are occasions when you really feel you want something wrong for all the right reasons. This might be one of those times. Just don’t do it very often. It’ll make you fat. 6/10

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