If you’re not yet aware of Mortals, put down everything and get that shit fixed right now. This band is one that is going to firestorm your life in the near future, but if you’re prepared for said onslaught, you can be the one warning others when this event comes to pass.
The Brooklyn-based band is about to go on tour across America, and from Oct. 25 to Nov. 13, Mortals will blaze a trail through clubs near your hometown, and if you’re close to one of their shows, it would behoove you to get there. I asked a friend of mine from a fairly well-known band who we’ve covered many times — I hate name dropping so I won’t, plus this person probably would find it funny I did anyway — about Mortals after having them as support for the show. I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I need to get in with what the band is doing. That was very good advice from a reliable source.
Mortals have a few releases to their credit, a 2009 full-length “Encyclopedia of Myths,” their 2010 effort “Savanger” and their 2011 demo “Night Terror,” and with each subsequent release, the band got better and better. Now with their latest effort, the two-track “Death Ritual,” they’ve gone from promising underground mashers to a group that will make an indie metal label very, very happy to have them onboard. This killer duo of songs demonstrates Mortals’ hardcore roots and expands them over sludge, black metal-style melodies, and post-metal haze. These are well-thought-out, tremendously played songs that demonstrate just how much this band has improved the past few years. And they were pretty deadly to begin with!
The trio, that consists of guitarist/vocalist Elizabeth Cline, bassist/vocalist Lesley Wolfe, and drummer Caryn Havlik, sound like a band ready to take the next step. What that next step is, however, is up to them. I easily could see this band being a prized jewel on the Relapse roster or even being one Southern Lord could get behind with their tastes being more of the hardcore variety these days (albeit Mortals only show strains of that now), and they even could be a nice compliment to KEN mode on Profound Lore. Or perhaps their will is to just go it alone, keep things in house like they’re doing now, and continue to build their machine. Whatever path they choose, they’re a band you should be hearing about well into the future. I’m officially on board now, and have been for a while, so when everyone else catches up, it’ll be nice to know people finally have caught onto something special.
“Death Ritual” opens with their eight-minute title track, a song that immediately shows off their expanded sound and even has moments that remind of Mastodon back when they were still awesome. The riffs are smart and edgy, the drumming is hellacious but complex (it’s not a total blast-beat feast), and vocals are downright mean and intimidating. The song completely assaults you, but you have time to breathe between crippling body blows, because they tend to go spacious and airy from time to time. “Final Hour” opens with raucous drumming, then gives way to heavy and meaty riffs, a calculated assault, and more hellbeast vocals. There are some really interesting sections in this song, including a pulled-back section that bleeds atmospherics, rumbling, progressive bass work that reminds me of Geddy Lee at his most creative, and some muscular sludge that is cement thick.
Mortals are killers, and they just get more impressive and deadlier with each release. As I said, if they hadn’t already proved they were worth label investment before, “Death Ritual” should make this a foregone conclusion. This trio is one you’re bound to see pop up on more people’s blogs and web sites, and their force should only grow stronger as they demolish crowds on the road and continue to mold their sound. You’ll probably end up bruised after you encounter Mortals, but you won’t mind bandaging those wounds.
For more on the band, go here: http://www.facebook.com/mortalstheband
To buy the music, go here: http://mortals.bandcamp.com/