Cursed to See the Future

I guess, based by the number of bands playing the style currently loaded onto my Ipod (Nux Vomica, Stheno, Tombs, Plebian Grandstand, Direwolves, Young and in the Way, Wolvehammer, Black Monolith, Hexis, Protestant, Black Anvil to name a few) blackened crust/sludge/stuff, is the new black. However, what makes Brooklyn’s Mortals stand out (other than the high quality of the music) is that this is a trio lethal leather clad ladies. And a testament to how good this music is, is that I listened to this album a few times before prepping for a review, and no idea the band was all female until locating the band’s Facebook page.

Comprised of Caryn Havlik (drums), Elizabeth Cline (Vocals, guitars) and Lesley Wolf (Vocals, Bass), ( who all also played in a Slayer tribute band called SlaywhoreMortals deliver 6 rangy songs of blistering, blackened crust that has ample elements of both while throwing some solid and memorable song writing to boot. The guitar tone has a nice crusty buzz, the vocals are a feral shriek, and the rhythm section carves out a nice steady pace between crumbling crusty  riffs, a few doomy passages and some very well done blackened tremolo moments. The end result is an album that admittedly takes a while to get its footing, but around the 2nd track or some you really hear some excellent, standout moments that fans of any of the above bands as well as the likes of Darkthrone, Celeste, and possibly High on Fire.

After opener “View From a Tower” which is possibly the weakest track on the album, and hardly an attention grabbing opener, the aforementioned 2nd track, “Epochryphal Gloom” starts with a doomy, plodding bass line which builds into a tense steady chug before exploding with ripping blackened furor. The beauty of this track and the album, is that there is always some sort of payoff within the 6-9 minute numbers, whether is a segment teeming with sharp melodies buried 6 minutes in (“Epochryphal Gloom”) or a an opening crusty Celtic Frost inspired lope (“Devilspell”), Mortals know that songs are about moments, and like sonic harpies, they lure you in to wait for those moments, then snap your neck. 

The mid album trio  comprised of “The Summoning”, “Devilspell”  and “Series of Decay”are the albums indisputable peak both containing  multiple wow moments (i.e “The Summoning” about 3;30 and 7:40 in and 6: 12 on of “Devilspell”). “Series of Decay” gets right to it though, with the razor sharp black metal payoff right at the beginning leading to a sturdy mid song groove and fierce, shrill, song closeout. Closer “Anchored in Time” is a shorter (4 minutes), doomier, album end note that brings you back down slowly and with some slower, crustier tempos that work as a perfect album close out.

This a great album for Relapse, and in my opinion is better than the label’s recent Black Anvil and Tombs releases, and even though the genre is pretty saturated right now, Mortals bring a snarling, feral energy and female presence to the scene that should see them blow up.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 28th, 2014


  1. Commented by: hebus

    Bored me to death.found the vocals annoying.could care less that its 3 girls.nothing new.

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