Rigor Mortiss - Wbrewny [Zoharum - 2019]
Rigor Mortiss were originally formed in the city of Plock, Poland in 1990. After an initial split in the 1990s the band were reunited in 2015 after more than 20 years apart for the album Brud. The current lineup of the band is made up of multi-instrumentalist Malgorzata Florczak, who handles vocals, samples, synths, accordion and guitar, alongside Maciej Stolinski who handles vocals, guitar and gong duties. The rest of the lineup is made up of Jacek Sokolowski on drums, Maciej Wasilewski on bass and Hans Seved Akesson who adds vocals on the tracks "Cyborgernas Bon" and "Sorgens Stigar".
Wbrewny features eight tracks of heavy, experimental industrial music. Album opener "Dream Catcher" begins slowly building as it goes, however the track has a really oppressive feeling from the start, which grows as the song begins to take shape. There is a Swans-like feel to this track, which can in fact be heard across the album’s length. "Cyborgernas Bon" follows in a similarly heavy vein with some spoken word vocals from Akesson adding to the mix. Incantations is up next and is the first song to feature a proper vocal track. I absolutely love this track, it’s heavy, psychedelic and there is a sense of something esoteric and forbidden about it that really makes it come to life for me. "Vires Spatii", the longest track at over ten minutes takes us through to the album’s mid-point is a real change of pace. It is atmospheric with a hypnotic tribal beat that just keeps plodding along. Despite it being a much more ambient piece the oppressive feelings that are evident on the other tracks remain in situ.
The second half of the album kicks off with "Sorgens Stigar", and it is immediately evident that there is a Sunn O))) comparison to be heard, and perhaps a Phurpa influence too. The track features slow, heavy, oppressive, gloomy drones topped off with some deep ritualistic vocals. This may well be my favourite track on the album. "Last Sirens" picks up the tempo again, the clean sung vocals giving it a hint of shoegaze before slightly harsher vocals are introduced on the chorus. The intensity builds as the track heads towards its climax before it finally falls away in the dying seconds to make way for "Escape from the Flashback", which starts off slowly but builds quickly and methodically into a hypnotic mid-paced track with more deep vocals. Album closer "Cormorant Island" offers a real change of style. You immediately notice that oppressive feeling that has hung over the whole album has been lifted. The use of bird samples gives the track a very different feel to the rest of the album, whilst its laid-back vibe helps lift the listeners spirits after what has been a pretty intense sonic experience.
I really enjoyed Wbrewny, an oppressive and at times haunting slab of industrial music that is challenging, music shouldn’t always be easy and this is most definitely not easy. Highlights include my personal favourites "Incantations" and "Sorgens Stigar", but the whole album is very much worth your time. I can’t help but feel Zoharum have unleashed a brooding beast on the world with this album.Darren Charles