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Review: Mortis Mutilati – Sombre Neurasthénie - 80%

Midwinter Fires, April 28th, 2012

Mortis Mutilati is a one man depressive black metal band from France which was created by Macabre in March of 2011. To date the Mortis Mutilati has already released two demos and appeared on a split album. Sombre Neurasthénie is the project’s first full length album which was released on February 25, 2012 by Naturmacht Productions as a pro cassette.

A lot of one man projects suffer from a poor production. Sombre Neurasthénie is somewhat raw but in a good way. It’s cold and harsh while at the same time it retains a sense of warmth and deep emotion. The mix is good, all of the instruments blend well together and everything settles in at a good volume level. There is a slight static noise that hovers in the background but it is minimal and does not affect the music in any way. The album artwork fits the mood and feel of the music well. It’s dark and a little twisted. The cover features a drawn image which is dark and medieval while the insert keeps things more traditional with a photo of Macabre and cemetery images.

The vocals are a mid to high blackened growl. They have a sick and twisted feel to them which really cuts through the rest of the music like a dagger. They blend well into the mix and they are performed well. They don’t take over the music and really act as more of a compliment to the depressive melodies and harmonies of the rest of the songs. It is rather hard to make out the lyrics but in a way this sort of adds to the overall atmosphere. Female vocals which are performed by Eve Carmignac appear on the second track. There is a definite sorrow that emanates from them though they only appear very briefly.

The guitars have great tone to them. They are somewhat raw but they sound pretty decent with just the right amount of distortion on them. They have a coldness to them which creates a natural, dark and gloomy atmosphere. The leads are much the same with a tinge of distortion but are for the most part a lot cleaner. They have a sorrowful tone to them which flows nicely with the rhythm guitars. The guitar melodies and harmonies are definitely the highlight of the album. In fact this album is all about the guitars. They are full of feeling and at the same time catchy and interesting. Unfortunately the drums are programmed but even so Macabre does a good job of keeping them interesting and they get the job done. I’ve been told future Mortis Mutilati releases will feature real drums.

The entire album flows well but I do have some favourites worth mentioning. First of which is the “Intro”. It’s a beautiful acoustic piece which sets the mood and feeling for the entire album. The second track “Sombre Neurasthénie” to me is the most depressing of all the songs on the album. It has a very melancholic arrangement which begins as an acoustic piece. The third track “Mortis Mutilati” is probably my favourite song on the album because it just has a bit of everything. A guitar solo, memorable rhythms and melodies and a good amount variation. The sixth track “Le Dernier Souffle” sounds like it was recorded at a different time than the rest of the tracks because it has a more muffled sound to the mix and I do detect popping and clipping in the background. However, even with that being said it has a great drum rhythm and it’s really the first track that I notice the bass standing out on it’s own with subtle runs. The song also features some acoustic sections and a catchy lead which is performed by Spont. It is also worth mentioning that this an instrumental track. Lastly I really like the “Outro” which is a pretty cool organ piece.

Overall Sombre Neurasthénie is a raw, emotional journey into depressive black metal. Full of sorrowful melodies and creativity. The production is a little harsh but it contributes to the natural feeling and sincerity of the album. I would have loved to see real drums used on the album but Macabre did do a good job of keeping the programmed drums interesting and they manage to add to the overall sound rather than take away from it. As I mentioned future releases will feature real drums which will add a whole new dimension to the music. I’ll be looking forward to that! Also the sixth track which I really did like sounded as though it wasn’t recorded at the same time as the rest of the songs and it has a noticeably lower quality to it. Even so it is a solid song much like the rest of the songs on the album. Mortis Mutilati has a new album in the works which should put these issues to rest and I believe it will be something great if Sombre Neurasthénie is any indication of the quality of music we can expect from this project. For fans of depressive black metal and black metal in general. This is certainly worth checking out!

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