Review Summary: This is why you shouldn't quit your day job.
Change can be a bitch. In all walks of life, one's desire to change is often met with disapproval, whether it is from unsympathetic bosses, old-fashioned family members, disgruntled friends or, in the case of the music world, intolerant fans. For most of the fanbase of any given band or atist, that band or artist should remain immutable from his first to his last album, never mind the fact that decades often pass between the two.
However, while most times this attitude is unjustified and somewhat extreme, at times it does make sense. Sometimes it is better for artists not
to change, as the exploration oif new territories is often clumsily handled and leads to an irrevocably mediocre career. A good poster-boy for this would be Mortiis. More hardcore metal fans will know Mortiis as the bass man for Emperor, one of the seminal bands of the Norwegian black metal movement. However, he soon abandoned corpse paint in favour of makeup that would make Pater Jackson proud. And with that change in appearance came a change in musical style, with the frosty aggression of black metal replaced by the equally cold, blunter agression of industrial rock. Which would be fine, if the change hadn't been simultaneous with such a spectacular dip in quality.
Now, past Mortiis albums have veered between the inconsequentially pleasant and the unspeakably boring, a tendency which seeps right through to 2009's free release Perfectly Defect
. The fact that it's free, and therefore void of any obligation on the listener's part, does not necessarily make it a worthwhile download, and this is one that most rockers, let alone Emperor fans, will want to skip.
To be fair, it does not start off so bad. The early songs are listenable and raise a modicum of interest, being, as they are, attempts to mix the sounds of Marilyn Manson and the Nine Inch Nails. The title track is a chorusless mess, a herald of the rest of the album, but songs like Closer To The End
and Sensation of Guilt
actually manage to raise an eyebrow, with the former being perhaps the best this album has to offer. However, even these songs shoot themselves in the foot by being far too long, eventually causing the listener to 'zone out'.
Still, that is not the worst of it. The worst comes right afterwards, when the album takes a sharp turn for the worse and becomes a dull collection of faceless electronica. The songs lose whatever small bit of interest they may have had before, as well as any sort of sense or direction, and as a result this becomes one of those listening experiences where the subject suddenly snaps out of a reverie to realize they have been listening to something on their mp3 player for the last half-hour and not registered a single note of it. Thieving Bastards
does grab a bit of interest, sounding like something Prodigy may have wrote for Music For The Jilted Generation
, but other than that the album is a veritable black hole of clumsy songwriting, mediocre programming and stale ideas. The only other listenable moment comes right at the end, when This Absolution
goes from sounding like the four tracks before it to something entirely different, and much more akin to Closer To The End
. Then, finally, the listener has reasons to sit up and take notes, as Mortiis again reveals a good grasp on the Marilyn Manson/NIN formula.
However, this ultimately comes too late to save an album which mainly elicits boredom. Even as a free download, this is an utterly skippable offer - after all, a free plodding and dull album is no less of a plodding and dull album. As for Mortiis, he continues to serve as an example of why you should think twice before quitting your day job. Don't bother.
Closer To The End
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