Mortifera - Vastiia Tenebrd Mortifera
A French solo band created by Noktu Geiismort (also of Celestia), Mortifera's full length debut was released in 2004. Though not officially part of the notorious Les Legiones Noir, Mortifera sounds like they would fit right in, and are perhaps a logical progression from that movement.
Geiismort's vocals are truly special on this album. He squeaks in fits of anguish, communicating utter sadness in a language I don't understand. It is tragic that he changed his approach to a much more generic screech after this, because it really makes this album something special. From the sound of it however, it may be reasonable to assume he couldn't make those noises any longer by the time album two rolled around. Musically, Mortifera play a lofi depressive style with tremolo-picked minor chords over usually slower drums with only the occasional blast-beat. "Le Revenant" starts after the instrumental intro, sounding like something off of Ulver's Bergtatt, rendered completely unique once the vocals come in. Track 4 is a short piece on classical guitar that is really quite beautiful. It's powerfully sad-sounding stuff and could probably bum out a great number of people. This isn't something you put on in your car as your driving down the freeway on a sunny day. This is quiet winter night music.
As I said, this work sounds very much like the black legions' stuff, like Mutiilalation or Vlad Tepes, but the clarity of production is really a welcomed change. None of the atmosphere is compromised, but when all is said and done, you don't feel like you just heard some guy's demo tape. Also, though I don't remember enough from my two years of high school French to understand the lyrics, the content seems personal and introspective and not concerned with the occult or the Christian satan. This is the precursor to US bands like Xasthur - proving the whole range of human emotion can be expressed through the medium of extreme metal. That's a crazy thing to imagine, I know. This is a nice intro to the whole “depressive” sub genre for those unfamiliar, it gets a 4 out of 5.