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The Grudge

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Album Review

Mortiis continues to expand the musical frontiers of his black metal style on what he calls "Mortiis Four," The Grudge. (Mortiis One-through-Three, presumably, being 1993's Født Til Å Herske, 1999's Stargate, and 2001's Smell of Rain). Or perhaps one should say "they," since on this album Mortiis is credited as a band consisting of singer and synthesizer player Mortiis himself, guitarist Levi Gawron, guitarist Asmund Sveinunggard, and drummer Leo Troy. In any case, the sound continues to be a combination of heavy metal and electronic dance-rock, with the styles sometimes alternating back and forth, as they do in the opening track, "Broken Skin." Singing in English, but in a heavily processed voice, Mortiis rails over the relentless rhythms and synthesizer patterns about his own failings and those of someone he criticizes without letup. "I've gone too far," he confesses in "Broken Skin," but that's nothing compared to what "you" have done, as he makes clear in one song after another, condemning his victim as an "emotional heretic" in the title song and complaining, "You bring out the worst in me" in "The Worst in Me." Grudge is an album of rage set to complex musical textures and thundering beats, and expressed in a torn and anguished voice. "I'm the one you fear," he declares in "Gibber," and no wonder.


Born: 1975 in Notodden, Norway

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Usually dressed in an elf, troll, or goblin costume (sometimes complete with bat wings and skull codpiece), the mysterious Mortiis was an indispensable force in the genesis of Norway's epic Viking metal sound. As the original bassist of Norwegian black metal pioneers Emperor, Mortiis was credited with stimulating the group's interest in blending furiously chaotic black metal with haunting synthesizer melodies often based loosely on Norwegian folk, thus laying the groundwork for a sound that would...
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The Grudge, Mortiis
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