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The Grudge
February 2005
Released: 2004, Earache Records
Rating: 1.5/5
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland

Maybe I missed the joke but what is the significance of the facial prosthetics and getup that Mortiis uses as his gimmick? Sure, black metal has its corpsepaint and hair metal had its spandex but what does the fake, oversized nose, pointy Spock ears and tattered rags have to do with Mortiis’ brand of techno metal? THE GRUDGE is his latest offering and once again, the former Emperor bassist has tapped into the Nine Inch Nails/Skinny Puppy files for ten tracks of overly-programmed and heavily-sampled cuts of varying success. I find the music to be too processed and if there is any actual instrument played besides a keyboard and drum machine, I would be shocked. Besides Mortiis’ tenure in Emperor and the fact that Earache Records released it, there is nothing “metal” about THE GRUDGE, either.

“Broken Skin” is an up-tempo number filled with programmed drums, synthesized guitars and Mortiis’ own processed vocals. The chorus slows down a bit but the pacing of this song takes me back to 1991 and “Head Like A Hole.” Most of the tracks on THE GRUDGE follow this same format and are filled with plenty of hooks and catchy melodies. “Way Too Wicked” and The Worst In Me” are the best of the bunch because they are catchy and contain a little more variety than the rest of the tracks. However many are on par with “Decadent Desperate,” with samples and a bad techno beat amounting to songs that Ministry would toss out with the trash. The electronics take over and send things plummeting into an abyss of 80s new wave/Goth that more people mock than embrace.

The title of “Asthma,” a short track of atmospheric effects that closes THE GRUDGE, sums up the proceedings perfectly because I was left gasping that this was the same guy who once wrote such caustic lyrics for black metal pioneers, Emperor. What I immediately notice about THE GRUDGE is Mortiis’ lyrics. The self-loathing (“No matter how hard I tried someone close to me lied now I carry the grudge”) and hatred (“I want to see you knee deep in the shit you pulled me through. I want to make believe I'm dead so you can feel it too.”) is everywhere so what exactly is Mortiis so pissed off about? He seems to have found his niche but maybe the fact that no one takes him seriously because of his shtick should be enough to open his eyes.

Admittedly, I am new to the music of Mortiis but if THE GRUDGE is any indication of his past efforts, I won’t be seeking out the back catalogue anytime soon. This amounts to third rate Nine Inch Nails combined with bad techno beats that gets grating in a big hurry. I can appreciate SOME keyboards but when an entire album (and apparently career) is built on the use of one’s computer programming skills, I have to wonder how much of a “musician” that person is. Metal is a fickle beast and it’s never good to be a punchline.

KILLER KUTS: “Way Too Wicked,” “The Worst In Me”
Track Listing

1. Broken Skin
2. Way Too Wicked
3. The Grudge
4. Decadent Desperate
5. The Worst In Me
6. Gibber
7. Twist The Knife
8. The Loneliest Thing
9. Le Petit Cochin Sordide
10. Asthma (Instrumental)


Levi Gawron—Guitar
Asmund Sveinunggard—Guitar
Leo Troy—Drums



Next review: » Mortiis - The Grudge
Previous review: » Mortiis - The Great Deceiver

The Grudge
March 2005
Released: 2004, Earache Records/Sound Pollution
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall

I haven’t followed this artist very closely; the only thing I actually knew was that he’s called Mortiis, and has an exceptionally long nose. Mortiis is about to follow up his latest album from 2001 called, THE SMELL OF RAIN, also including a whole band this time around.

“THE GRUDGE” was recorded in Silvertone Studios in Fredrikstad Norway, within the span of six months. Vegard Blomberg and Mortiis have together produced “THE GRUDGE”, and it sounds just as it should, when it comes to electronic metal. In other words, this album contains many sharp guitar riffs and heavy metal guitar, by Levi, Asmund, and heavy electronics. Mortiis takes a big part in the sound picture with his lead vocals, with both depth and broadness in his voice. He is also responsible for synthesizers, programming, and sound design on the album.

As I wrote earlier, Mortiis are electronic metal, or can even be described as industrial metal. You can draw comparison between Mortiis and bands such as Nine Inch Nails and Ministry. Mortiis’ music is not considered to be radio friendly whatsoever, compared to another Swedish band, Pain.

This is his third album on Earache Records, with Mortiis running through 10 tracks on THE GRUDGE. Even though this is a bit hard to enjoy the first time around, I find myself liking THE GRUDGE more and more each time it’s played. I don’t know if you can compare this album with his previous ones, or if the older fans like it. The only thing I reserve myself towards is the cover that doesn’t really reflect on the music.

If you’re into electronic/industrial metal, and never took a listen to the cult troll with the long nose before, I insist you check out THE GRUDGE.

Killer tracks “Broken Skin”, “The Grudge”, “Decadent Desperate, “The Worst in Me”, “Gibber” and “Twist the Knife”.

Mortiis toured through Europe at the end of last year and now he’s about to hit the U.S.A. in early '05.
Track Listing

Broken Skin
Way to Wicked
The Grudge
Decadent and Desperate
The Worst in Me
Twist the Knife
The Loneliest Thing
Le Petit Cohon Sordide


Mortiis – Lead vocals, synthesizer, programming, sound, design
Levi Gawron – Guitar
Asmund Sveinunggard – Guitar
Leo Troy – Drums

Next review: » Mortillery - Murder, Death, Kill
Previous review: » Mortiis - The Great Deceiver

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