Black metal seems to have originated from the many Norwegian bands that prefer its harsh, distortion-rich style. This extreme genre of metal is often accompanied by growling vocals, and lyrical content that appears anti-religious, filled with wrath directed at the decline of humanity. Many people may not like the style but listen to it in many films that are heavy with action, although the style truly associates with supernatural films most often. No matter your stance, black metal has its fans, more than is realized.
One band arising from the sub-genre is
Mortiis (pronounced Mortis). The mainstay of the band, Havard
Ellefson, played briefly as bassist with Emperor, a prominent black metal band from the early '90s. After leaving Emperor, Mortiis began
to produce dark ambient music, releasing several fantasy-related, ambient dungeon music albums that were bleak in sound.
An interesting thing about Mortiis was the singer's appearance, that of a goblin or dark elf modeled after Ridley Scott's Legend film character, Blix. Ellefson even had a mask manufactured to alter his look, lending a sort of theatricality to his show and his persona.
Ellefson would also create a violent, industrialized sound with a side project called Vond. This revealed that Mortiis had other plans that would materialize in time, as it did in 2001 with the release of The Smell of Rain.
The Smell of Rain delivered a natural sounding departure from previous Mortiis albums with its dedicated use of synthesizer in an industrial setting. The album was a satisfying evolutionary step toward what Mortiis was likely planning. Subsequent Mortiis releases (The Grudge - 2004; the well done remix collection, Some Kind of Heroin - 2007; and the current, Perfectly Defect - 2010) were further steps into hard-core industrial music, this time with a dedicated four-member band to effectively play the new material in live settings.
In October of 2010, Mortiis followed a
“pay what you will” model that was successful for Radiohead and
Nine Inch Nails. The new album, Perfectly Defect, was a satisfying
collection of tracks that evolved the band further. How that
campaign fared for Mortiis, I don't know. Regardless, the band is
revisiting the title with an extended digital set that brings three
more songs to the original album's eight tracks along with new
altered artwork, and fresh web content with a limited one month digital download at a 'name your price' bargain.
Instead of being completely free this time around, the band has initiated a base minimum price of $1.99 (USD) for the download, which began on July 13 and will extend through August 13, after which the title will be dealt with differently. The available DD formats will include MP3 (320k), FLAC, MP3 VBR, AAC, Ogg Vorbis, and ALAC. To get started, head over to the band's server for the album at Mortiis' official site.
The band is still preparing the way for their very long awaited new album, The Great Deceiver, which is being referred to as a “clean slate” for a band that is used to producing newer stages of itself. The new album is expected to blend “...techno, industrial, metal, punk, and progressive rock...” and is expected to be their defining flagship album.
If you need a familiar comparison to current day Mortiis, you need think no further than Nine Inch Nails (NIN) or Rob Zombie. If you like NIN, you're going to like the current incarnation of Mortiis.