Genre: Dark Ambient
Mortiis is, or was, possibly the sole artist whose ambient meanderings was more popular with metalheads than with those more accustomed to dark ambient. The reason for this is largely due to his association with legendary black metal band Emperor. He left the band fairly early in their career but not before penning the lyrics to “I am the Black Wizards”, which remains a classic to this day. This is a rather curious fascination, given that Emperor peers Ulver, have been all but forgotten by the metal community in their electronic explorations and even now, in this goth/darkwave phase, he frequently makes the pages of mainstream metal/rock magazines and is currently signed to UK metal label Earache.
But I digress. This is not a new Mortiis album, merely a re-release of his second solo originally released in 1994 on Cold Meat Industry and it follows the same motif as its immediate predecessor and successor, consisting of two ambient tracks of about twenty five minutes apiece. The trollish one appears to be aiming for a mix of bombast with a touch of the medieval and imbued with a great degree of fantastical atmosphere -an accompaniment to Orcs being slayed on the battlefield. However, the synths tend towards the cheesy, especially when attempting to imitate horns.
The main problem is the realisation of his sound - the arrangements themselves are not particularly bad, and given a better disposal of electronic toys, may have been better. This is not unique to Mortiis – but was a problem shared by fellow Norwegian metal head Burzum, whose prison era albums contained the same idiosyncratic melodies and arrangements that made his earlier albums classics but unlistenable due to sounding like it was done on a cheap Casio.
Mortiis would be responsible for more entertaining works from Crypt of the Wizard onwards, but this early album really did not deserve a re-release and is only recommended for completists.