Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mortalicum-The Endtime Prophecy

Metal On Metal Records

When you're just starting off as a band and, as a foreshadowing device no doubt, opt to call your 2010 full-length debut album "Progress Of Doom" then by all means show us the progress that doom has taken! God bless those Swedes in Mortalicum then because on their new follow-up album, "The Endtime Prophecy", the band takes what Black Sabbath started and grants it a new (much needed!) lease on life. Formed in 2006, this four-piece band is lead by guitarist/vocalist Henrik Högl and before I go much further along with this review it should be mentioned that Henrik does not fit the mold of what I would consider to be an ideal doom singer. He almost sounds as if he should be fronting a 70's hard rock tribute band instead of leading a band that obviously worships the very essence of Black Sabbath. Since the band is not following that closely in Black Sabbath's footprints though (and considering the large debt also owed to classic 70's hard rock like Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest and Rainbow) Henrik Högl ends up with a voice that works (even if it does contrast some of the more Black Sabbath/Trouble like moments). Now, having said that most of what Mortalicum seems to aim for is arguably more up-tempo and, dare I say, warm than a band like Black Sabbath could ever have accomplished. Going into this album I half expected the vibe to be dark and dreary. Imagine instead a band that can start of sounding like Iron Man (the band not the song!) and emerge out of the darkness with a subtle N.W.O.B.H.M. inspired moment. Paying homage to Black Sabbath/Trouble and bands like Salem, White Spirit, Ethel The Frog, Cracked Mirror and Samson means that the listener comes away with something a little more than the typical retro-doom worship that seems to be flooding the scene lately. While the album is not quite perfect (some songs do tend to blur together as is often the case for this sort of music) and there is room to grow on the part of Mortalicum this is still one of those albums that as soon as you're done with it you want to hear more. It radiates doom/hard rock that is warm and fuzzy to the touch and presents the listener with challenging material to soak up and digest. "The Endtime Prophecy" is the image of a band on an upward movement. On their way up the band takes a path that offers winding roads with plenty of wonderful scenery along the way. Sure there might be a few detours along the way while the band tries to forge their own identity. But, so what if the band's love of Black Sabbath, The Obsessed, Trouble, Deep Purple, Spiritual Beggars, Dio, Wishbone Ash, Uriah Heap and so many others shines through so brightly? It makes for a pleasant enough trip and besides, seeing as this is only the band's sophomore release we are talking about, one can't help but anticipate that every new bit of material these guys release in the future will be all the more better.

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