The Mortal
Immortal


5.0
classic

Review

by Arche USER (86 Reviews)
November 22nd, 2016 | 29 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A magnificent translation from studio to live, Immortal is absolutely everything a fan of the band could possibly want.

2015’s I Am Mortal, the lovechild of five accomplished musicians within the J-rock and visual-kei scenes, was (and remains to be) an absolute treat for fans of goth rock and post-punk. However, sitting (albeit loosely) within the visual-kei bracket means applying the music to, surprisingly, a visual representation outside of an album’s packaging and marketing – and an album of I Am Mortal’s complexity, one would think, would be hard to recreate in a live setting. The huge amount of effect play, supposèd layering and compositional nuances would, surely, have created a monolithic task for all concerned; for the band themselves, creating the music outside of studio jiggery-pokery; for the sound technicians, who would have to ensure the mixing was just so, ensuring no instrument shouted too loudly over another; even for the event recorders, capturing the visuals as if one was there, while ensuring the sound is possibly even clearer. Amazingly, Immortal rises above all odds, showcasing the live experience Immortal deserved to those unfortunate enough not to be there.

For one thing, the music comes across with complete lucidity - impressively for a live performance, at any given point it’s possible to pick out any instrument being played. Vocalist Atsushi Sakurai is in his element, clearly relishing the opportunity to step in the footsteps of many of his heroes. His ability to flip between boisterous, full-throated power and heart-tugging vulnerability in both studio and live settings is well documented, yet it's wonderful to see him soak up the gloomy atmospheres with such passion, gesticulating and interacting with other members and the crowd like a gothic lord. Immortal also offers a fascinating insight into guitarist Jake Cloudchair’s experimental streak. One can see him working in the background, switching between frantic shoegaze strumming, artsy fingerpicking, and on at least one occasion engaging in some theatricity of his own with an illuminated violin bow and his signature (frankly frightening) extensive pedalboard usage.

Normally, a band chooses to save one or two big hitters for an encore – something to get the crowd re-energised, leading to that feeling of gleeful exhaustion when the band says their final farewells. As it happens, The Mortal choose to go almost in the opposite direction. Starting with three covers from their EP Spirit, they pay homage to key influences of theirs (The Damned’s ‘Shadow of Love’, Siouxsie and the Banshees’ ‘Cities in Dust’, and Bauhaus’ ‘Spirit’) while implanting their own spin on them, to the point of translating some lyrics to Japanese. Instead of feeling bombastic, it feels very intimate, personal even; the refrain of ‘we love our audience’ at the end of ‘Spirit’, for example, is coupled with the band coming to the lip of the stage, arm in arm, singing to their cheering masses in unison.

Immortal is captivating in terms of its visual impact too. Lighting is used to maximum effect; cold, illuminating blues are used alongside dim pinks as a matter of course, bringing to mind bleak, seedy industrial zones (particularly alongside the scaffolding adorning the backstage) as easily as they do seraphic, achingly beautiful backdrops. There are some striking, more specific effects too – opener ‘Tenshi’ features an engulfing ‘light triangle’, which changes from mere wisps to blood-red coils as the track reaches fever pitch, while the haunting lead-up to ‘Hallelujah!’ makes use of empyreal beams on each member to create the desired, ‘divine’ atmosphere (only serving to make the track’s connotations to cannibalism even more horrific). Arguably the most affecting, however, is the stage shrouded in oceanic blue for main closer ‘Sayonara Waltz’; the delicate guitar and Sakurai’s trembling delivery are gifted the quality of a lullaby by the twinkling, cool milieu the lighting provides. One can also see semblances of nods towards their post-punk and goth ancestors in its camerawork, particularly in the post-production additions. Strewn throughout are cuts from the show, altered to look as though they’re straight from a knackered VCR with their white lines and granular, muted colours, and several shots presented in high-contrast black-and-white hark back to dingy goth videos from the 1980s.

Immortal sits in a sparsely-populated field of lives which are both aurally and visually (nigh-on) perfect. From the staunch appreciation of theatrics during the show itself, to the more relaxed air of its encores and the visual and musical nods throughout, one feels as though it’s as much for the band itself as it is for their adulators. It being unlikely that The Mortal will ever produce another album, Immortal is also one-of-a-kind – a vignette of a band who, while possibly far too short-lived, came together in that one glorious moment to produce something truly exceptional. Bittersweet, yes, but in a way this makes it more poignant; and to be honest, I’m not sure how they could top it anyway.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Archelirion
November 21st 2016


5650 Comments


Give this a read if you want to know more about what the bulk of it sounds like. I didn't want to write about how this sounded in a typical review sense, partially because I'd already written about it. - http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/69218/The-Mortal-I-Am-Mortal/
I think this might be the longest review I've ever written. Really wonderful, wonderful live: any comments and whatnot welcomed :]
Links aren't the quality to do it justice, but they're a reasonable indicator nevertheless:
Sayonara Waltz (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxjQbdL9w6c)
Mortal (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyn8_5N0NTs)
Neko (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixS0pcHuOPE)

RunOfTheMill
November 21st 2016


3945 Comments


supposèd

RunOfTheMill
November 21st 2016


3945 Comments


great great great great review. I loved your description of the visuals (something that is often overlooked when it comes to live recordings). I really need to see this, damn

Sinternet
November 21st 2016


18846 Comments


Aaron review = instapos

how ya been btw man? haven't had a chance to dub in ages so haven't talked to you fellas in a while

Archelirion
November 22nd 2016


5650 Comments


Thanks guys! ^ ^
Heh. The supposèd thing came from old Shakespeare textbooks for me - simply to make sure that 'supposed' is said the right way xD But yeah, this is pretty damn awesome. I ended up buying the DVD for... reasons... but I'm sure it possible to 'obtain' it somewhere ;]
I knooooooooow! I've been doing pretty well thanks - pretty much decided I want out of education (a bad decision when literally halfway through a degree) but future's looking bright! How have you been?

CalculatingInfinity
November 22nd 2016


8824 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The review I needed in my life :3



In terms of production and sound the best live I've ever seen, took 2 watches to fully appreciate the show and my GOD the drumming. Whopper review Aaron.

Archelirion
November 22nd 2016


5650 Comments


Tell you the truth, I think this is honestly a 3.5-4.0 based on looks alone, removing all music from the equation :3 Dammit, I was gonna say something about the drum sound too! Uuuuughhhh ;-;
Anyway, thanks!

CalculatingInfinity
November 22nd 2016


8824 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I remember on my first watch I didn't like the look because it wasn't as theatrics as 13th Floor...oh boy was I wrong. The use of lighting is absolutely stunning.

EvoHavok
November 22nd 2016


7680 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It's not often you see a review for a live album. It turned out very well, Aaron! The concert is fantastic.

Digging: Children of Bodom - Hexed

Sinternet
November 22nd 2016


18846 Comments


'I knooooooooow! I've been doing pretty well thanks - pretty much decided I want out of education (a bad decision when literally halfway through a degree) but future's looking bright! How have you been?'

oh nice, what you planning to do next then?

i've been pretty good, still looking for work but in the meantime getting some work experience which is alright, wish universal credit wasn't so pitifully small so i can actually afford to buy anything that isn't either my mobile bill or travel money

FullOfSounds
November 22nd 2016


15770 Comments


Great review my man

Archelirion
November 23rd 2016


5650 Comments


Thanks Sounds ^ ^
I'll reply in your shoutbox Sin (implying you've not already read it by the time you see this :3)

Vorpax
November 23rd 2016


24 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Really well written review! I will rewatch IMMORTAL as soon as possible. The only downside in my opinion is that NHK Hall acoustics are not the best for a rock concert it seems..

CalculatingInfinity
November 23rd 2016


8824 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"The only downside in my opinion is that NHK Hall acoustics are not the best for a rock concert it seems.. "



This is the best production I have ever heard on a live show, so I couldn't disagree more.

Vorpax
November 23rd 2016


24 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Soundwise? I mean, I don't think the problem is the production but the venue itself. I will rewatch it soon, so maybe I will change my mind, it's been a while since the last time



EDIT



I'm far from being a sound specialist though LOL

CalculatingInfinity
November 23rd 2016


8824 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Soundwise yeah, it's mindblowing. The tone of each instrument is dead on, mixed perfectly and feels so overwhelming heavy at times despite being lovely on earphones. Bass feels so weighty as well and rounds it all off.

Aberf
March 31st 2017


2432 Comments


I'mmortal

50iL
April 17th 2017


5016 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

wow.

my brains. i have to pick them up off the floor.

brb.

Digging: The Dillinger Escape Plan - Irony Is a Dead Scene

EvoHavok
April 18th 2017


7680 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It was about time you posted here, haha.

50iL
April 18th 2017


5016 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Dude this is seriously the best thing I've ever seen, I'm not exaggerating

As you said, Immortal rised above EVERY potential problem and remains even more of a statement than the LP



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