Mortiis
Keiser Av En Dimensjon Ukjent


4.5
superb

Review

by Scuro EMERITUS
August 31st, 2023 | 5 replies


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Emperor of a Dimension Unknown

“Know ye now, Bulkington? Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous slavish shore?" – (Ishmael, Chapter 23, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick)

In the past, I’ve quite unconsciously associated the experience of lending an ear to this grandiose dungeon-crawling micro-genre with “wading into a sea of synths”, and due, I suppose, to the inescapable suggestibility of the human mind, my recent foray into Herman Melville’s multi-faceted cautionary tale forced an apparently unintuitive, yet pregnant contrast, between some themes of that novel, and the ghostly spirit of Mortiis’ ascetic cinematic score. Common to all beings, and exemplified by the above quote, is the experience of the individual spirit clashing with opposing natural forces of far greater magnitude, with the accompanying psychological strain of navigating an ever-shifting terrain. Dungeon synth has oft explored the dark, shadowy, uncanny spaces where deeply buried thoughts mingle with indistinct suggestions, and Melville’s narrator likewise embarks upon a perilous journey which can equally be said to occur in the venture across the mysterious ocean as much as in plumbing the depths of man’s soul.

From the initially somber swell which introduces pt. I of the title track, strident and powerful tones emerge, confronting the listener with a volume and scale that demands feelings of grandeur and confident optimism, though blemished and repeatedly yielding to an underlying fatalism. “All noble things”, says Ishmael, “are touched with melancholy”, and this regal tone waging war with its subdued counterpart attests. Elsewhere, we find the plucky spikes of Pt. II asserting quieter freedom from the brooding backdrop, illustrating an ever-present tension which characterises Mortiis’ approach on Keiser… for its entire runtime, in terms not only of individual pieces, or the competing textures which interweave as layers of his auditory tapestry, but also endemic to the drama of the entire project. The now-plunging-now-soaring dynamic employed by the artist creates a compelling image of immortal heroism battling inevitable defeat; although pt. III storms forth with war drums and an arsenal of bright, strident stabs of noise, the listener can prophecy eventual doom, and we’re repeatedly reminded of this necessity as much by the foreshadowing in pt. I as by the consistent interruption of the apparent revelry with brooding, bass-y drones.

Echoes and phantoms of melodies gone-by periodically appear, with pt. V of Side A alluding to pts. I and II, recycling familiar rhythms and patterns to create congruity while expanding upon earlier themes. The back-half consisting of Riesener Til Grotter og Odermarker recalls the introductory piece, albeit with far less bombast, holding a grimy mirror up to the initial positivity. The final track, pt. IV of the second piece, is almost a direct callback to the first track, though jaded and wearied by the journey. Battered by the overwhelming power of the stormy brew, the once colourful and independent tones have been washed ashore with lungs full of brine and regret. Here, I’d like to call attention to the interplay of apparent egoic striving across a backdrop of destined frustration. In this capacity, the fluctuating environs of Ellefson’s composition have a similar tendency towards an entropic principle which yields to disillusion far more readily than successful conquering, though the attempt is still made. A never-ending battle to shift polarities is waged, though the seeds of self-destruction are watered from within. Much as the doomed crew of the Pequod feature in the tale post-mortem, we feel here, too, the echoes of a story taking place in the distant past, a pond stagnant with death, and yet with concentric ripples extending outwards, living forever.



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user ratings (48)
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
ScuroFantasma
Emeritus
August 31st 2023


12028 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I actually wrote this about a month ago but it’s so transparently influenced by my recent obsession with Moby Dick that I chose not to post it. On a re-read, I felt like it presented some decent ideas, and rather than file it away I’m going to just shamelessly and openly admit that while the comparison is absolutely unwarranted and tenuous at best, it does make for some fun opportunities to contrast the two and maybe someone else will think so too. This is just where my head was at when I was last listening to this album, and it’s probably not super fair to Mortiis’ album, but that’s what you get for making dungeon synth I guess.

ToSmokMuzyki
March 2nd 2024


11003 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

no posts sadge

ScuroFantasma
Emeritus
March 3rd 2024


12028 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nobody likes my English lit essay pretending to be a review

Purpl3Spartan
March 3rd 2024


8662 Comments


Real

ToSmokMuzyki
March 3rd 2024


11003 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Mobiis - Cetus Ov Un Dick Uncut



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