Review Summary: Take that Satan, we can rock harder than you.
Mortal Treason is a rather unknown metal band that never broke through the extreme metal scene due to breaking up shortly after releasing this album. They released two albums in their young and once promising career. They are known to many because of their Christian tag. Some bands use this as a crutch to lure like minded people into the music despite how bland or unoriginal they are. Amongst the ashes of the bloated scene, there are quite a few bands that stand out in terms of uniqueness and talent. Extol, Living Sacrifice, Zao, Renascent, and Antestor just to name a few. "Mortal Treason at first glance might not possess the tools necessary to step out of the overcrowded genre, they however have made a serious attempt to ignore the typical clichés and find their own niche in the metal world. Their sound can be described as a mix of straight forward heavy metal with slight hardcore influences wrapped around melodic death metal and symphonic black metal elements.
The album kicks off with a nice instrumental, opening with a piano laced with a cello before the drums and guitar soon enter, paving way for the album. Their sound possesses an aggressive yet melodic edge that recalls some of the greats. At The Gates, older Underoath, and Dimmu Borgir can all be felt in the presence of the metal that is being played. There is no singing to be found on this album. The vocal work of Seth revolves around the higher pitched raspy growls to lower pitched grunts atypical to the death metal scene. The singer shows good range and makes great use of his voice, varying the high's and low's to keep the music interesting. The guitar riffs are heavy and pack plenty of groove to satisfy the listener. As the tempo shift's from mid to low, is where the breakdowns make their presence known. Don't get me wrong, the breakdowns aren't over abused like so many bands but used to a minimum, maximizing the impact of the music with ominous keyboard melodies intertwining with the guitar's to leave a greater impact. The drum work has greatly improved from their last album. Patterns are fast when they need to be and slow when the times call for it. The bass is drowned out immensely, which can be a positive or a negative depending on how you take it in this style of music. The keyboard work on the album can be linked to Seth's wife, Elizabeth who was a new addition to the band as "Sunrise Over A Sea Of Blood" was being recorded. Filling a void to set the gap between the previous work into something new and refreshing, Mortal Treason had
As a vocalist, Seth might not be the most unique individual to abuse the microphone but he has shown a great amount of talent with his pipes. His higher register bears a striking similarity to Dallas Taylor yet shows more aggression and force than Dallas. His lower ranges while nothing out of the ordinary provide a great change of scenery. About the lyrics, the base centers itself around Christian related themes while for the most part not going too far into the Jesus aspect with the exception of “Death Is The Beginning”. The topic’s touch on various topics, ranging from substance abuse to the beginning of the end. Lyrically, I didn’t find too many things that bothered me. The guitar work is a solid rhythm machine provided by Josh and Adam. They play their fair share of groove oriented riff patterns along with the occasional breakdown to enhance the song, not overshadow it. There are a few solos, adding a nice kick to the music. “Taste Of A Bitter Soul” shows that well, with a well placed solo that ends way too soon. The key work is surprisingly dark and up front for being a Christian band. Bringing in the black metal flavor to the music, Elizabeth adds plenty of symphonic passages to the heaviness that the guitars add, adding a nice contrast between melodic and heavy. Some might find the key work to be irritating as the role it plays is prominent throughout the disk. I personally have no problem with this. A noticeable flaw would be the bass being nearly absent in the mix. From a bassist’s view, this album might not excel in but nothing is perfect. Drum work is pretty solid but standard fare for metal as rapid double bass patterns provide a lot to the music. There are a lot of cymbal crashes, drum fills, and cool drum patterns that change up as the speed changes. The music is wrapped around slightly fuzzy production, not quite black metal levels, but benefits the music greatly instead of sounding too commercial or clean as you’d find off the new Sonic Syndicate record.
All in all, this is a solid metal album that took a step up for the Christian metal movement. It’s a shame that their journey ended so soon but hope they inspired a new legion of young bands to leave their own mark upon the current music scene. Mortal Treason has proved to us that you can throw down with the best without exhibiting all the profanity, recreational drug abuse and groupie interaction that us metallers are guilty of, not that there is anything wrong with groupie interaction or boozing with your bros. Fans of any sort of metal should definitely give this a spin as it’s not too preachy for the elitist metal heads who bask in the dark to find offensive. If you do find that it does, well that's just too bad.
Seth Kimbrough - Vocals
Elizabeth Kimbrough - Keys
Josh Jarrett - Guitar
Adam Wright - Guitar
TJ Alford - Bass
Steve Robinson - Drums
Hard hitting yet haunting.
Bass is tuned down.