posted on 3/2010 By:
As if there weren’t a more obvious way to turn people off of an album, any reviewer worth his salt should immediately point out that this is the one-man project from Sirenia’s Morten Veland. And Misere Mortem, Veland’s first album under the Mortemia moniker, is, predictably, a gothic metal album. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s take a closer look for those still interested.
Misere Mortem is not a subtle release. There are few moments of pause, and even fewer songs that don’t beat you over the head with the musical equivalent of full-frontal nudity. It is not ashamed of its epicness, and has no qualms in dangling its foot-long around as if it were the second coming of Christ. It even has a running theme where all song titles begin with “The,” from “The Once I Once Was” to “The Candle at the Tunnel’s End.” If you don’t like European-style goth metal with lots of keys, moody narrative bits and operatic female vocals this has a snowball in hell’s chance of surviving your eardrums’ respective digestive systems.
If you dig Veland’s main gig but find yourself yearning for something with more of a kick, or you’re just nostalgic for At Sixes and Sevens, Misere Mortem could be the answer to your prayers. It’s almost easier to describe this as early Sirenia if only Veland had handled main vocals himself. There’s an orchestral tinge to all of this but it’s given more weight due to Veland assuming such a dominant role, and as enchanting as female vocals can be the impact is undoubtedly a positive one. The only drawback for Veland is that the fan carryover from Sirenia to Mortemia won’t be as predictable as it could have been.
Given how most of the songs on the last two Sirenia albums have been so hit or miss, Misere Mortem should introduce Mortemia as a welcome newcomer to the gothic landscape. At a relatively trim 40 minutes, it is a decisive punch to the gut and, whether intended or not, renews my interest in Sirenia and restores my faith in more melodic, gothic metal.
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