Mortuus - Diablerie [W.T.C. Productions - 2022]
Hailing from Sweden, Mortuus is the black metal duo of J. Kvarnbrink and M. Hinze. Formed in 2003, this is their third album coming after an EP, a split album and a split EP. Both members are veteran musicians with quite a background emerging from, or aesthetically leaning toward the post-2000s, second wave of black metal. With Diablerie they offer a cleanly produced and contemporary-sounding black metal creation.
The album is packed with challenging, chainsaw-like, high-gain guitar riffs of various paces, gargantuan and pounding rhythm section and variable, almost ritualistic and recited vocals. The production plays a vital role in the heaviness of the whole thing. With it all sounding present, perfect, upfront and desirable, with every detail never obscured.
Mortuus sound is modern, yet derived from classic second wave BM. Within its sound- I can hear traces of the pairs other projects- Ofermod, which features Kvarnbrink, and Ondskapt, where Hinze was a full-time member/ Kyarnbrink plays live with the band. I’m also hearing traces of Watain too. Yet Mortuus do have their own identity too. They are far from being monolithic, with their music being complex, polymorphic and progressive.
Diablerie is rich and thick with sonic colour, yet at the same time, dark with all the common BM traits being fulfilled. It features depressive moments, but generally, it’s turbulent, saturated with characteristic black metal epicenes with a Wagnerian strength. The music is tight and strict, where the chunks of the cataclysmic guitar work reside and evolve. Long riffs, beautifully wrapped around the bass, drums and voice. Diablerie is dramatic- yet- upheaved in its sentiments, and even though it consists of just four tracks, it feels long and flowing. This flowing aspect gives the album both momentum and power!Karl Grümpe