Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Ascending Calamity, Descending Quality - 61%

TheStormIRide, June 6th, 2017

New Jersey's long running black metal band Mortum has been lurking around since 2006, dropping a handful of releases over the years, the latest of which is Ascending Calamity, a four track cassette that was released in 2015 through Vanguard Productions. It's clear from the opening seconds that Mortum's sound is derived from a love for the cold approach of the Scandinavian second wave.

The intentionally lo-fi, murky production gives the EP an authentic feel, sounding as if it were lifted from the same era that they're aping. Hell, even the black and white cover art looks like a penny saving xerox copy from the '90s. Everything about Ascending Calamity hearkens back to the days of yore: the treble laden guitars; the distant, muffled screams; the fuzzy cymbals; the repetitive trem riffing. The guitar riffs are solid, offering a sweeping and cold approach with melodic phrasing despite the waffly production. Unfortunately the same can't be said for the drums, which, instead plod along, doing their own thing. The bass drum is muffled enough that you barely hear it unless you strain your ears and the handwork is sloppy, but not in an endearing sense. The vocals have this really cool, mystical vibe as they are layered in distortion and murk and pushed really far towards the back of the mix.

The material here really seems to be a step back from their 2011 full length, The Rites of Depopulation. Sure it's cool that the band went for a more lo-fi, authentic second wave demo tape sound, but a lot of the band's charm gets lost in the mix. There are some cool moments on the tape, but if you'd rather hear Mortum at their best, check out the full length instead.