There is something to say about Irish bands, Irish metal in particular. There are things one cannot find anywhere else in metal, there’s anger there, not just the angst and anger of Norway and the US but real anger, rage. No matter the band, no matter the genre, it’s there. It permeates the music; every note, every riff, every sound. The music seethes. The good bands in Ireland know this, they embrace it and feed off it, pouring their hearts and frustration and pain into their music. Nowhere in that scene have I seen that emotional structure as I have with Mortichnia and their release “Heir to Scoria and Ash.”
Formed from the ashes of Wound upon Wound (I’ll get to why that’s important later), Mortichnia play an amazing blend of raw black metal, medieval black metal (again I’ll explain that later) and doom metal. They’ve blended the genres perfectly, making sure each subgenre is represented and put in its place. They use each subgenre to fuel a different aspect of rage and anger. The album’s sound exudes rage and pain, everything on that scale. It’s amazing that in the midst of all the emotional turmoil the album recalls that there is actual melody and rhythm here. This is the kind of album I want to hear, an album that can display the emotions of the musicians, create and stir the emotions of the listener, and still have bloody damn good music. I haven’t heard something this well put together with such feeling since I first heard Anata for the first time (not a comparison I make lightly). This is why I listen to music, to find albums like this, to listen to something this amazing.
The music is technical but not so overdone that it sounds like a wall of sound rather than a piece of music, it has melody yet it’s harsh and unyielding, the benefits of really, really talented musicians and songwriters. They play with conviction, something I want to see from the metal scene. As I said earlier, the band was born from the ashes of a band called Wound upon Wound, and the reference to Gorgoroth is intentional and accurate. They play a blend of styles that mirror Gorgoroth during the Gaahl/King/Infernus era but accomplish things that Gorgoroth was able to, for one reason or another. They play with more unity, the music is more cohesive rather than a mishmash of sound and melody. Mortichnia has a similar Nietzschian lyrical content to Gorgoroth but focuses more on the nihilistic side rather than shoehorning his philosophies into a Satanic bend.
The guitars are incredible, creating a dissonant counterpoint that constantly duel for supremacy in each melody. The bass, the bass is actually fucking audible! I can hear the thrumming and droning against the buzz of the guitars and the blasting of the drums. I cannot ask for anything else in black metal. The vocals remind me of Satyr from Dark Medieval Times and Silenus during the early days of Summoning (again the comparisons are not made lightly). I cannot express fully how much I enjoyed listening to this album. It’s one of the best I’ve ever heard.