De Contemplanda Morte

The Anja Offensive is turning into a heavy hitter in the black metal genre. With stellar releases by Antaeus, Secrets of the Moon, Watain, Katharsis and the amazing new Deathspell Omega, but with De Contemplanda Morte, there seems to be a drop off from the label’s brilliance.

Two piece Mortuus consists of M. Hinze from Ondskapt (drums) and Tehôm from the defunct Dödfödd (vocals, guitar, bass), but even with that line-up the duo can only muster a fairly standard scrawling, dreary, slightly doomy, depressive slab of drawn out black metal.

Admittedly, this isn’t a bad album per say, but it’s not as evocative, claustrophobic or paranoia inducing as its peers. Long songs, layered pained screams and chants (“The Illumination of Job”), droning riffs (“Penetrations of Darkness”) and plenty of lengthy atmospheric/creepy segues (“Supplication of the Demise”) littered with a few blasts of traditional blackened fury (“Astral Pandemonium”)-it’s all here by the numbers, but none of it ever comes close to the likes of Draugar, Leviathan, Shining or Azrael-all seeming reference points.

The production is above average, meaning that it’s listenable to these ears but may be too clean for some of the genre’s purists giving it another strike against it. Though the one man/two man black metal seems to be vogue now, I wonder how long the genre can continue being as viable as it was just a few years ago.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
August 2nd, 2007


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