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Good songs fighting for attention on very busy EP - 85%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, March 5th, 2014

Mortifera's debut release, going back a decade to 2003, was this short mini-album of four songs. If you were determined to track a band's work in chronological order, Mortifera would be a good band to start with: "Complainte d'une Agonie Celeste" (translating into English as "Lamentation of Celestial Woe") is a compact set of depressive and angry BM with surging, powerful rhythms. There are two quite short tracks and two slightly longer ones, all of which spin on common motifs of bleak atmosphere, very raw guitar tones, a spidery vocal filled with hate and bile, distinctive melodies and riffing, and lots of energy to spare on each song.

Each track has an unusual title which might have been inspired by the French Black Legions bands' example. Track 1 "L'influence d'Alhena" is an instrumental piece of raw bleeding guitar sorrow and hopelessness. "Sepulcre de Mortt-Vastiia Necroiion" is the first of three songs featuring vocals and what hateful vocals these are too, filled with venom and disgust. In contrast to the singing though, this second track combines urgency in its rhythms and beats with lament and melancholy in the guitar riffs. The slow-ish title track seems a more thoughtful, considered work with short, sharp bursts of blast-beat anger and hate: the slightly drunken pace and the to-ing and fro-ing between slow and fast can make the song appear a bit cartoonish but its detour into a different key brings a new energetic charge. The song turns out to be gritty in its own way.

Track 4 "Abstracte-Negation-Resurrectiay" is a punchy conclusion to the album: fairly fast though not at blast-beat speed with strong riffing and near-screechy voices, taking listeners into darker passages of introspection, sadness and pessimism, the song reaches near-epic levels of majesty and tragedy.

It seems a shame that this EP is so short as a couple of tracks, especially the last one, could have been extended to more than twice their length for a fuller impact. All four songs seem a little cramped with not much space between them. Track 4 in particular sounds a little like a fragment of a longer, more developed and epic song. The band seems eager to pack as much music as it can into each song and the result is that while individual songs can be good, when all are crammed together, they fight for your attention and make less impact than they would have done on their own otherwise.