Monday, September 13, 2010

Mortify (Gre) - 1990 - Dizziness of the Occult (Demo)

Dizziness of the Occult is the first recording by the obscure Greek black metal band, Mortify. Although it certainly is not anything incredibly special, that is not to say that it isn’t a more-than-decent listen, nor is it unworthy of the thirteen minutes of your time spent listening to it a couple times through.

The production is expectantly muddy and lo-fi, and there is an overtly noticeable amount of tape hiss, but that could also be from generations-old tape dubs. Either way, it’s still not overbearing to the point where the music is just buried in it, as you can still get a good idea of what was going on. Also, the fact that the leveling and mixing isn’t too bad or disproportionate doesn’t hurt either.

The demo’s strongpoint is definitely in the songwriting department. When you look at each song structurally, you see more of a death metal influence rather then the simplicity often found in black metal. But when listening to the music itself, it is undeniably black metal in execution, just with a death metal edge. They mix the tempos up quite a bit, ranging from mid-tempo chugs, triplets, and a palm mutes (not in a groove metal fashion, of course) to faster blasting sections. But each tempo is contrasted with another opposing one coming after it, keeping each song moving along at a decent pace that will hold your interest.

Musicianship wise, they could be tighter, however their sloppiness is far from overbearing. This mostly comes out in the transitions from one section into another, but this does not occur consistently enough to sink the whole ship, and their knack for songwriting certainly makes up for it. If you can handle a bit of metallic slop, then this surely should not be a big deal to you.

One of the cool things about this demo is the fact that not only does the drummer take care of vocal duties, which is always a respectable feat (assuming it’s done correctly), but he also contributes a lot to the more atmospheric sections, where they utilize synthesizers and even bongos on the beginning of “The Occult”. He’s also not a bad drummer, nor a bad vocalist, making the whole drummer/vocalist situation work perfectly. The riffing is a great permutation of death metal with a black metal touch, mostly in the chromatic, higher-note sections. It actually reminds me a bit of Profanatica, though only in the sense that the slower, chugging sections stick to a primitive death metal feel while the tremolo sections have a down-tuned black metal sound, creating the same sort of black/death contrast Profanatica's riffing is/was known for.

Overall, all departments work well with one another, and each element is arranged nicely. However, rarely does it give you that “something special” feeling, thus rendering this a decent listen, but nothing too special. I definitely recommend it to anyone into ancient black/death, but don’t expect another Abhorer, Fallen Christ, or Mystifier.

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