Mortifera is a French black metal band that is the former home of the Neige of Alcest and Amesoeurs fame. If you’ve heard of the band Celestia (another somewhat famous French black metal act), you probably have an idea of Mortifera’s music. This is not to say Mortifera is bad or anything, just not one of the most original black metal acts out there. This is what I thought before I actually gave it a good listen. Mortifera’s musical intensity out plays Celestia at it’s own game, and goes beyond the normal standards of your typical black metal album.
The opening track, Fbrahgments
, begins with smooth, melodic guitar strums followed by some frantic drum lines that lead the guitar strums into a serious of vicious strikes at the guitar creating a very unique and off color guitar chug riff. The music then jumps into a more typical black metal standard of thick, distorted atmosphere and fast paced guitar riffs with the bass occasionally breathing through. The instrumental is a good intro into the album but not so much a solid track. Le Revenant
breaks off the first track with a higher pitch guitar riff and some simple blast beats, followed by some of Neige’s powerful screeches. The song then tones down a tad bit as it hits the 50 second marker. The vocals are torn with agony (both emotionally and probably physically). The song then hits a breakdown of melodic strumming before jumping back into the fray of probably some of the ‘happiest’ black metal I’ve heard guitar wise. The song ends leaving you confused as to the true intentions of Mortifera’s music.
A Last Breath Before Extinction
begins on a more steady pace. The song is less chaotic and probably for the better. The vocals are more controlled and the music feels a bit restrained (which can only be said when put into terms the chaotic nature of the previous track). The song’s end is rendered with beautiful guitar strumming and vocals that sound like the guy is dying by chocking on a rat. Very grim. Elegance sets in with Epilogue D'une Existence De Cryssthal
with some slow, almost angelic guitar strums provide a gateway to the next track. Ciel Brouillé
begins with an assault of more high pitch atmospheric guitar riffs followed by more of Neige’s fitting harsh vocals. The song has much more solid foundation to it then Le Revenant
, making it one of the better tracks on the album. At certain parts during the instrumentals of the song, the music shows signs of shoegaze influence (think My Bloody Valentine) which adds more pleasure to the song’s orgasmic touch.
Abstrbve Negabvtiyon Rebssurectyion
is probably the biggest heavy hitter on the album, with a more deeper guitar tone and powerful drum lines, the song meets a more standard black metal brutality. Neige’s voice fits well with the darker atmosphere, since before his presence added chill to the beauty of previous tracks. The song has some of the best guitar work on the album and it’s progressive nature makes it yet another dominate track in Mortifera’s arsenal. Aux Confins Des Tenebrss
is another track shrouded in melodic beauty. The drums blend well with the melodic guitar strumming that overpowers the song with a calming essence. The music then bursts into a cry of anger as Neige takes over vocals and the guitar strumming turns to riffs. There are no lyrics to the track, just Neige breaking out some painstakingly high shrieks no mortal man could possibly do.
The final track, Fruits Of A Tragic End
, is easily the weakest, being a Celestia cover. The song has more swing to it and follows a more typical black metal formula. Overall it’s subpar to the rest of the album (aside from a nice guitar riff that dominates the whole mid section of the song). So yes, if you’ve heard of Celestia, you probably know about Mortifera. Though Celestia came first, I can easily and gladly say (again) that Mortifera blows Celestia out of the water at their own game. Definitely a must have for Neige fans and black metal fans alike.