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A really bad attempt at power/prog - 4%

SteveHNo96, February 13th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2019, Digital, Rockshots Records

Power metal is fun, technical and very uplifting yet falls into tropes. Progressive metal is very technical but the singer tends to be almost apologetic and lacks any authority. It seems like a match made in Heaven to combine the two, and it tends to work for bands like Mindmaze, Triosphere and Divine Ascension. When I came up to Mortanius's debut album, however, I had to take pause.

The production quality on this album is decent, but it just doesn't sound like a progressive album at all. You can't just have a song go on 10+ minutes and say it's progressive. That's not how this works. When a song is that long, you have to keep it interesting, instead it's lost in the woods for however long it needs to get through the songs that are 10 minutes or longer.

The second thing is when you combine power and prog, it's supposed to take the best aspects of both of them. Listen to Mindmaze's Resolve or Divine Ascension's Liberator, both of them have a lot of melody and emotion and feeling. Now listen to the title track of this album. It sounds like too much was left to a computer, The drumming is done by a machine which in Philadelphia shouldn't be an issue -- I understand a band like Star Eternal had trouble with it because they were in a part of Australia where drummers were at a premium but I know the East Coast metal scene has many musicians, the bass and guitar work are fine, and fairly crisp, so it's clear these two are talented with their respective instruments, but then we get to the voice, and it sounds like it was badly altered, or worse, at points it sounds like his genitals were smashed between two bricks repeatedly while Lucas was trying to sing. Another track that is missing the power needed for good power/prog is Facing the Truth where that high pitched voice is grating. He needs some singing lessons from Asami from Lovebites or from Hansi of Blind Guardian.

Now this album has its high points, as clearly shown by the appearance of Jonas Heidgart of Dragonland on the song Jaded, it's a welcome change of pace for me, but then it goes back into the bowels of Hell with the final song, yes, a cover of Last Christmas. Why cover a song that you have probably heard to death on stations over the years from November 29 through December 24 of any calendar year? I may never know the answer to that question. There really was no need to turn it into a full ballad, and I'm sure no one will listen to this and say "Let's play this" instead of the original. Just... no.

In conclusion, most of the instrumentation seems to be in order but between the computerized drumming, the lack of any real progression, and the singing, I just feel this is a pass. I think Lucas and gang have a lot of growing up to do before the next album and one might be to not rely on computers so much for all the problems that arise. This can be best described as a noble failure.