MORTALICUM - TEARS FROM THE GRAVE (Metal On Metal Records)
Swedish doomsters Mortalicum previously released two albums, “Progress Of Doom” (2010) and “The Endtime Prophecy” (2012), through Metal On Metal Records on the same day the mighty Keep It True festival took place. You can not imagine a better place to offer a new album to the masses, as every year loads of Metal maniacs, many from outside of Germany, march towards Lauda-Koenigshofen to visit this mighty festival. Those who never heard of Mortalicum now have a good chance to become acquainted with their style which falls under the category of Doom/Heavy Metal and Hard Rock.
Metal On Metal Records introduced me to Mortalicum, I have listened carefully to their first album and heard right away that this band had something to offer that attracted me greatly. I was hooked on their unique way of vocal delivery, the lyrics were dark, the guitars were ultra heavy... all things considered, Mortalicum appeared to have a lot of potential, and I was right. The follow up was released as usual in professional packaging and again, the end result was much above the average. At the end of the same year, the songwriting for album number three began, all went good and the recordings were planned for May 2013. Unfortunately, that date had to be moved to September due to drummer Andreas Häggström breaking his ankle when he fell on ice.
Then another setback befell Mortalicum: guitarist Mikael Engström left the band in February 2013 because of personal reasons. After a few rehearsals, the rest of the members decided to go on as a trio, and they certainly should not regret this decision at all. I’m convinced about it, as Mortalicum’s third album “Tears From The Grave” has in the meantime been released, once again at the KIT festival, in April 2014. Is this a coincidence or not? I don’t know but I’ve heard the entire album several times so far and want to share my opinion with all of you...
In comparison to their previous albums, “Tears From The Grave” showcases somewhat different direction with regard to the song structures. The tempo of most of the songs is slower than before, and the overall length of the songs has increased. Mortalicum have put the emphasis on '70s psychedelic doomy rock even more and nothing’s wrong with that. I like these guys' musical vision a lot, the way they bring a heartfelt combination of good old Hard Rock and Doom Metal alternating with NWOBHM still manages to grab me by the throat. With all respect for the well done bass and drum lines (by Patrick Backlund and Andreas Häggström) for me their singer/vocalist Henrik Högl once again delivers a mighty fantastic performance, probably his best performance so far. This guy’s voice is so damn unique that it makes a comparison with someone else almost impossible. Clear with an emotional/melancholic undertone... just awesome! Then he also knows perfectly how to play the heavy as hell, very old school guitar riffs and leads. Henrik seems to be born for this type of music.
The gloomy cover and background photos were delivered by Jowita Kaminska-Peruzzi (www.jowita-kaminska.com), “Tears From The Grave” was recorded, mixed and mastered in the Mortalicum Studio by Patrick Backlund himself... Musically speaking, this situation is dependable and secures the future of the group. I’m not a big expert of Doom metal, still I know when a band has the right attitude. In the case of Mortalicum, they meet all the requirements without a doubt.
Mortalicum keep the pace on ‘The Endless Sacrifice’ not too fast and not too slow, somewhere in between, including hard as nails riffs and loads of in-your-face melodic lines courtesy of Henrik Högl, who also brings to the table quite unusual vocals. ‘I Dream Of Dying’ is a slow and very heavy one which has a seventies Hard Rock feel with a bluesy accent, especially thanks to the guitar work. I still like my Hard Rock and Metal music old school, so Mortalicum’s new album “Tears From The Grave” caresses my ears. Then I would like to put the title track in the spotlight. For its duration of 11 minutes, Mortalicum takes you on a journey across the fields of Doom without losing focus for one single second. At a slow tempo these Swedes deliver a magnificent performance featuring melodic vocals with heartfelt chorus lines and fiery solos. To keep a doomy song of 11 minutes fascinating isn’t a simple task - many of those who tried it failed. Different story with Mortalicum, no matter how long or short this band's songs are, the focus is always there and they deliver the goods! ‘I Am Sin’ keeps you wide awake for quite a while, enjoy the eight minutes of pure epic Doom/Hard Rock/Metal magic... good old Black Sabbath aficionados will have a great time listening to it. Apart from the title track, ‘The Winding Stair’ is one of my favourite compositions. For nine and a half minutes, you’ll get a beautiful performance from a band showcasing utter professionalism. This song brings a magnificent blend of classic Doom, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music I really love with all my heart. To get the real essence of Mortalicum, you should check out ‘The Winding Stair’ for sure. Regarding the remaining tracks on “Tears From The Grave”, I'll keep it short: outstanding songs, definitely worth checking out!
They’re darker than the blackness of night and heavier than hell... my list of personal doom faves has been extended by adding of the Swedish masters Mortalicum. People on the hunt to be thrilled by the forces of Doom in the vein of old Black Sabbath, Trouble, Saint Vitus, Krux, The Loving Tongue, Spirit Caravan, Grand Magus, Spiritual Beggars should check THIS page and order right away!
My Points: 89 / 100
95+ : Outstanding, high valued albums & Classic Ones… a direct purchase is advisable !
Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan
Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it
Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing
Between 60 and 69: Rather moderate
Between 50 and 59: Bad, substandard
50- : Rubbish