The Third and the Mortal
are a very strange, but good, band. They originally were a Doom Metal act, and are now labeled as an Experimental Metal band, hailing from Trondheim, Norway. After a demo (The 3rd and the Mortal
) and the Sorrow
EP, this is their first album, entitled Tears Laid in Earth
. Released under the famous Voices of Wonder Records
in 1994, this was capured by the original line-up, which consited of…
Rune Hoemsnes – Drums and Precussion
Finn Olav Holthe – Guitars/Keyboards
Geir Nilssen – Guitars/Keyboards
Trond Engum – Guitars
Kari Rueslåtten – Vocals
While this is generally placed under Doom, I find the music to equally share its genre balance torwards Prog Metal as well. Why? Because long songs (Oceana
; eighteen minutes, Death Hymn
; eight minutes, to name a few), heavy to soft changes in songs, and clean, beautiful vocals make it even more sad, but all the while retaining a leash on Metal; not much chuggag-chugga palm-muted riffage going on, no ripping solos, and, as aforementioned, no harsh, yelled, screamed, or otherwise ‘Metal’ vocals. Now, that doesn’t mean it takes the evil away; on the contrary, it sounds more malicious and dark than if the band did
do those things, with the heavy atmosphere and the slow pace of the album.
Now, why is this album excellent?
Because this album is just pure gloomy as well as dark, a perfect fusion for singer Kari Rueslåtten, whose vocals are fragile, soft, and pure as they get. While no Angela Gossow, she has just as much vocal ability, I’d even go so far as to say she has more range than her. High notes are seamlessly stretched unexpectedly from Karis regular voice, and add a beautiful, sad touch to the music. She can’t really make a loud sound, but her opreatic voice mixed with a legato singing style makes a blissful, powerful listen, so you don’t need loudness. And speaking of loudness, I have to stress that this album is more of a peaceful, relaxing, calm record more than an ‘Epic Doom’ approch (like Candlemass
). Guitars are varied, and rightfully so; from the haunting chourus effect to add more depth to the atmosphere, to the thin, spitting mad overdrive sound to harness a feeling of lonlieness. Trond, Geir, and Finn balance these textures excellently, though I tend to find a bit more clean oriented tones than heavy ones. Melodies, contributed both from the keyboards and guitars, are fruitful on this album. While too the keyboards act as atmospheric sonic devices, you can ocasionally hear them following along with the guitar, and sometimes on their own, and I must say, the songwriting that goes into them are amazing!
The bass playing is great, but nothing too spectacular. Whenever both stringed insturments and keyboards are plaing the melodies (Autoponma
, Salva Me
), the bass is usually filling in with an obscure but good bassline, and it makes itself heard, and that’s always welcome. It will not be left in the dust, and keeps in check with the other insturments while adding a deep note to the playing of all the others. Its sound (tone) is really neat, if you’ve ever listened to Opeth
, it sounds simillar to that, give it a few notches up of the overall quality of production and you’ll get an idea. Drums and percussion have a rather effective voice; Rune does all sorts of neat fills with the double bass, toms, cymbals, he basically uses his full potential on his whole kit, and proceeds to hand us an accent that makes excellent contact with the rest of whats going on. The sound is huge with the snare, it seems to have a very short, but very distinct echo effect, but takes place only when a lot is not
going on, for instance, listen to the one minute, thirty seven second mark on Salva Me
. In other words, when te rest of the music is quiet, you can hear the echo effect. Oh, and don’t expect blastbeats here, because they don’t happen. Like I said, this album is calm, so Rune replaces those with short stubs of quick double bass kickage, not too long, not too loud.
So that’s nice ‘n all, but what holds this album from being subperb, or a classic?
Well, two things really stick out like a sore thumb in the dark, and they both are songs. Vandring
is completley pointless, even if you understand Norweigan. Sure, Karis voice is great, but when it’s a minute and forty seconds of nothing but, then we’ve got a problem. And not to be picky or nothing, but when you’re going to do something like that, make sure you sing it in English before releasing in the U.S., please. And the other song is Lengsel
, which is THE EXACT SAME THING, just with a short bassline repeated over and over, only this time its two
minutes! Oh, the agony! Another gripe I have with this album is repetitivess. I mean, theres not a whole lot of it, but when it comes up its just really distracting when you’re expecting something unexpected.
So, do I have any last words? Yes. This might take some time for some people, let it sit, or keep listing to it occasionaly. If it doesn’t come around for you after the third or so time, I’m sorry you don’t enjoy it. Other than that, I feel that this is a must-see for any music fan, not just Metalheads, if you can find it (I heard that this is rare, try downloading). From clean, beautiful vocals, harsh, dry guitars, to wonderfully commenced atmosphere, I guarrentee everyone will find at least something
to enjoy about this album.
FINAL RATING – A STRONG 4.0