Mortiis – Perfectly Defect

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label URL: https://www.facebook.com/americhrist/
Released: 2018
Buy Album [URL]: https://deadseedproductions.bandcamp.com/album/perfectly-defect
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/officialmortiis/

Band line-up:

Havard Ellefsen – lead vocals, programming, mixing
Levi Gawron – guitars, programming, mixing, bass
Tim Van Horn – drums

Tracklisting:

1. Closer to the End
2. Perfectly Defect
3. The Sphere
4. Sensation of Guilt
5. Sole Defeat
6. Thieving Bastards
7. The Punished
8. Halo of Arms
9. Impossible to Believe
10. This Absolution
11. Hermaphro Superior
12. Contrition

Review:

Mortiis are an industrial rock band on the Omnipresence Productions record label and they have recently rereleased their ‘Perfectly Defect’ album on digital and physical formats. It was first released in 2010 during the band’s European comeback tour, but the record eventually became out of print. A band member comments: ‘At the time of the initial release, I had given up on working with a label as I was super pissed off with previous negative experiences in the record industry, and decided I’d rather give the album away for free as a gift to our loyal fans during the comeback tour… I have since calmed down and I’m super excited and stoked to finally be able to give ‘Perfectly Defect’ the proper release it deserves on my own label!’

Do the musician’s tendencies for anger and calmness show in their music? Arguably, yes. Powerful, massive sounds are followed by more chilled out sections frequently. The ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ nature of the material could have so easily become over the top and tiresome, but not in this case. The way the listener never quite knows what to expect from the instruments always keeps him on edge, and that is one of the main ways the music that is actually relatively basic keeps its intriguing nature. But there’s nothing wrong with simplicity, if the music was more harmonically adventurous, it would lose its often modern and trendy film music like style. Having said that, it would be nice if the various ostinatos were more original. Only standard scales are used and the tunes tend not to be particularly imaginative, (though the keyboard riff in ‘The Sphere’ is pretty cool).

Unlike the mostly well planned instruments, the vocals seem to come and go somewhat randomly in the album. It’s impossible to predict which songs will be instrumental or not, and this creates a minor sense of confusion in the listener, rather than interest. Furthermore, the singing in ‘This Absolution’ is over-expressive rather than charismatic, angsty or filled with attitude. If the vocalist acted more like ‘himself’, his delivery would perhaps be improved. Also, the words may be better off being either rapped or sung a little more cleanly to tone things down a bit, there. The distorted guitars on the other hand, are always effective with merging with the electronica. However, they aren’t as commonplace as you may expect and when they do enter, they are occasionally rather low in the mix. Therefore, maybe the band calling themselves ‘industrial rock’ is a bit misleading. It’s often plain techno.

In conclusion, the backing is mostly much better planned than the vocals which sometimes seem lacking in taste. It’s as if the band assumed that because the former is so strong, everything would be okay lyrically, but that was not the case in my opinion. The vocals aren’t bad and are certainly not as over the top as some, but they should really be the highlights of the overall sound. The production throughout the album is very strong, making the whole experience better and more rich. In contrast it doesn’t simply serve the purpose of hiding musical flaws. Lastly, the material makes great backing music or typical everyday techno/techno metal that will rock/electrify your socks off. Give it a listen!

Review by Simon Wiedemann
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