Mortum
Eheieh Chaos

I’ve got to hand it to New Jersey’s Mortum, from the little snippet of material that I had heard from them before I signed up to review their new album, Eheieh Chaos, I wasn’t too impressed. The music wasn’t bad per se but it wasn’t anything new or more than just a little intriguing; yet by the end of listening to Eheieh Chaos, I have to say that I have become somewhat of a fan of Mortum. At least enough of one to want to see what their future endeavors may hold. Though, not to sound like a total dick, their material still really isn’t anything new or massively intriguing. It is 100% geunine feeling and just catchy enough  to aid in the band’s tremolo picked madness.

Culling their sound from the early works of the second wave of Scandinavian black metal, i.e., Emperor, Ancient, Dark Funeral, Naglfar, etc. and even fellow American acts such as Noctuary and December Wolves, Mortum combine tremolo picked riffs, with just a slight melodic overall presence to them, with straight forward, mostly blasting drumwork in a not quite lo-fi production, but nowhere close to a polished commercialism. Raw enough for the “trve kvlt” crowd, but still decent enough quality for picky, pretencious assholes, like myself. Though I found something I liked in each of Eheieh Chaos‘ tracks, the album as a whole tends to come off as one long tremolo filled song.

Whether blasting fast or more slower and subdued, the tracks somehow seem to be stuck in the same gear/pace. Album closer, “Pitch Black Waters” comes off as the closet thing to the album’s highlight. The song is simply more interesting right from the start, conjuring up a bit of melancholic sadness or even romanticism in its riffs, though never overtly or in a sappy way, and never strays from being balls out black metal. The 3:11 to 4:53 mark showing a bit of transient spaciouness in the song’s change-up, adding a simple use of dynamics.

If I was to give Mortum any actual constructive criticism, it would be this: the guitars need some leads/solos, the bass needs to utilize some walking lines behind the tremolo madness, the drums need a bit more flair and fills, and a more dynamic or robust production would help out as well. And just maybe add some keys/synths here and there. Sure, it probably goes against Mortum‘s more raw, primal, and “pure” black metal aesthetic, and I get and even respect that, but overall there’s a reason the second wave originators eventually went this route. Having said all that, there are some solid ideas on Eheieh Chaos, and I really do believe that these guys could take their material to a higher plane. If this was 1993-96, I’d say “look out for these guys”, though here in 2017, almost ’18, as Mortum currently is, there’s not  too much to really offer someone other than the black metal die-hards and/or elitists.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
January 4th, 2018

Comments

  1. Commented by: Glenn Whitehead

    Lo-fi crappy Darkthrone. Not fun to listen to, not original, not interesting.


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