15 Jul 2021 - Knut
Industrial Black Metal/Death Metal/Psychedelic Black Metal | Inverse Records | Release date: 15 Jul 2021
As we know, Finland has the most metal bands per capita in the world. And the diversity of them are almost endless. And the same goes for the creativity and braveness of many bands from Finland, especially such bands as Mortyfear. Their new album is like some kind of musical magic realism, and, as the album title indicates, with a lot of disturbing eeriness thrown in. Above all it is remarkably well done.
The band has a long history, forming as Mortifier in 1999 and after personnel changes changed their name to Mortyfear. After some demos and a split with Achren they released their first full length, God´s Skin in 2006. Since then there have been personnel changes and some years ago they started working on the album that now came to life as My Dystopia. The album gives you the feeling of being thrown straight into a circus of absurdity.
So we tumble into the circus with the first song, ”Circus Called Life”. Be warned, this is not your usual jubilant circus, this is the dissonant one. This is the one where the acrobats and clowns seem to stagger a bit unstable around the circus arena – just as life sometimes makes you do. It starts with an atonal distress-signal that is joined by heavy guitars in dissonant mood playing, oddly enough, a very catchy melody. This does not prepare for the ensuing tempo change when mighty growling vocals take over and just seconds afterwards it is answered by a snarling voice. Heavy riffs and drumming accompany the shifty vocals until it is almost a relief when the dissonant melody comes back joined by the distress-signal. After a while, the music quiets down and there is some place for clean vocals, piano and some soaring synths backed by fuzzy guitar. It picks up speed again and even a chorus is heard in the background. Distress-signals announce the end of the song and we are ready for the next one.
And here comes the band performing ”Jester´s Downfall”. The downfall begins with heavy, chugging riffs accompanied by discordant synths in the background before the growling vocals take over and tell the story. The music stops and we only hear heartbeats and blips from a cardio monitor. A chorus joins and sings a catching melody together with the growling vocals until some snarling (g)utterances take over and the song continues in a fast swirling mode with many instruments joining in. It all quiets down after a while, the vocals only whispering now before the music joins in and it feels like the world goes off its hinges even when the chorus joins with the catchy melody over the snarling vocals and heavy riffs.
The next song begins and ends with what the title indicates, ”Black Noise. In comes some whispers and organ-like sounds and after a while the song might seem like a quite straight forward Death Metal song, with growling vocal. But, of course, it is not as this is Mortyfear. There is, as there is for every song, a lot of things going on behind the riffs and the always varied vocals. The melodies soars and falls like a roller coaster in slow motion as we get ready for the next song, ”Plastic World” that might be the most variable song of the album. That is saying a lot, as every song is very versatile. This song develops into some surprising soundscapes and here you have the heavy riffs, atonal piano, melodic synths, even some soft clean vocals building up to the beautifully performed chorus.
So we are ready for the next four songs of the album with ”Spoiled” starting just like the previous ended, accompanying the piano melody with surging synths before the clean vocals join in alongside chugging guitar riffs until it all morphs into growling vocals sung over the ever-changing music. ”Misfortunate Phoenix” seems to struggle to start with the growling above everything else and the song morphs into Industrial Metal before it picks up melody and many voices join over a guitar solo. ”Delete” brings back the more unharmonic music from the previous songs before the growling adds to the soundscape. It seems like it swirls out of control, but of course it does not. It is like when you see trapeze artist high above you flying from trapeze to trapeze, you gasp – this cannot be good. But, of course, the members of the trapeze team always catch each other, just like the musicians do in this song, and all the other songs. They take risks, they are fearless, they spin their ideas, but they are always in control, even in the absurdly atonal parts. The same goes for the last song ”Dark Waters” which starts very slowly with synths and drums soaring over dark waters, a female voice whispering before the heavy guitars ignite the song and the roller coaster ride begins and leads us into the alluring and weird soundscapes of Mortyfear. This last song, at least in the middle part, might be the soundtrack of a paranoid life, even if there are clean vocals here. The whispering behind it makes it quite unsettling.
To attribute this album, or this band, to a genre is almost impossible. It is of course based in in Black Metal, but there are many influences from Industrial, Psychedelic, crooning and there might be a lot more. It is done with passion, precision, playfulness, braveness and masterly performed by the musicians. When thinking of what this could be a soundtrack for, it might be for Banksy´s Dismayland or a carnival gone off the rails.