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Mortals – Death Ritual EP by orlandooom407

I am regularly taken aback by the sheer amount / volume of brilliant music coming from NY, specifically Brooklyn. Whether it be doom sludge mavericks Hull, or electrifying black metal trios such as Mortals, or even the highly divisive Liturgy, there is obviously a vibrant and diverse environment in Brooklyn, and we in ‘The City Beautiful’ are grateful whenever they take the time to shimmy their way on down the east coast to pay us a visit. Such was the case when I was lucky enough to see Mortals here in Orlando, and was so floored to the point of being inspired to vomit up the very review your eyes are currently drinking in. Death Ritual is a thousand pound two track assault, of which those two tracks complement each other in pristine accord. Not so much in a yin and yang kind of way (they are not what I would consider opposites), more like two dual frenzied sprinters tunneling forth to the same finish line with a maniacal intent at rapid pace. There really is not let up to the constant assault in both of these tracks, while at the same time it never seems to be too busy or lose any of its momentum, a hard balance to strike, and one Mortals achieves with finesse employing a combination of riffs that are both dark in their scathing harmonies as well as some that are just catchy and fun as hell to listen to.

The title track opens as something of cataclysmic tidal wave. That wave crashes upon you without a moments reprieve, and you are ever the grateful for it. The thick sludged out bass wrapping itself homogeneously around the relentless percussion and melodic and methodical cries and riffs. Their ability to transition from something so grooved out and catchy and down tempo as the aforementioned riff and then move into a blistering and hypnotic dark sea of torrid landscapes, is something we (those musicians among us at least) could and should all learn from.  The logo for Mortals features a blade assuming the role of the letter “T” in the bands’ moniker, and it is almost as if you can feel that very blade being jammed into your third eye, in the most enjoyable of ways of course.

I won’t lie; Final hour is easily my favorite track of the two, which is evident in how many times I destroyed the replay button before purchasing it from their Bndcamp. The second track moves along at a crushing clip, with anthemic motifs chewing away at you instantly like a buzz saw. The riffs are eloquent and memorable, especially the opener that makes its distinct appearance at 0:04 and is probably my favorite singular riff in this whole EP. The 4 minute mark introduces another example of one of those riffs Mortals weaves into their writing that is just fun as all shit. The range that is covered is impressive, and the pacing (evident in the serpentine crescendo that starts to build up at 2:21 and ultimately explodes at 2:40 in this track) is phenomenal. Mortals command such impressive compositional control over their pacing throughout each moment of the song it really is hard not to be impressed with them.

Regarding their live performance, Mortals easily exceeds what you hear on the EP, an impressive feat, and a compliment to both their EP and their killer performance. There was not a moment during their live performance where I didn’t see Caryn (drums) without a sinister grin on her face, and that’s how they will forever be remembered by me, until the next time I’m fortunate enough to catch them.

Methodical, maniacal, bliss.

Mortals on Facebook!

– Kenneth Reda

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