Mortiis - Crypt of the Wizard & The
By Marcus Pan
After reviewing Mortiis
The Grudge as an industrial album, I was a bit mystified by the three
others that crossed my desk recently. It seems that the industrial thing is a
bit of an aberration for the usually orchestral releases by the band. The two
1999 releases I received, The Stargate and Crypt of the Wizard,
are instrumental pieces with some neo-classical influence, tribal rhythms and a
Lord of the Rings fantasy-epic sound.
When We Raised the Tower for example uses powerful
horn sections to create a charging battle scene, a little slower moving than a
rush forward and instead an aerial view of forces moving into units at the
ready. The tribal drums of Underneath the Shadow of the Tower pushes
forward slowly, but tends to stall due to its repetitive nature.
A Circle of Cosmic Chaos lightens the mood a bit with
flutes and strings, but has the same issues with repetitive melodies at first.
Its however interspersed with darker electronic movements and picks up
pace with marching tribal rhythms taking us farther on the path to the crypt
than most of the other tracks here.
The Song of the Wanderer also uses flutes juxtaposed
against deep bass. The flute will turn over to an oboe (or similar low tone
wind instrument) as again the now familiar tribal drums begin to build up. The
heavy handed flute returns now, but the melody that began The Song of the
Wanderer is losing my interest as it begins another round of precisely what
its played already a dozen times.
The latter portion of Crypt of the Wizard can be a
bit silly, most notably the closing Captured in Cyrstal. Not necessarily
bad silly, but just kind of flighty somehow. But the main issue with Crypt
of the Wizard is its lack of movement. While theres large noises
here, they tend to circle rather than engage. They dont lead you too far,
maybe a few steps, and get slightly humdrum and repetitive.
The Stargate is a bit lighter in
sound, but uses the same tribal drums, orchestral arrangements and flutey
accompaniament. Child of Curiosity and the Old Man of Knowledge, a
mouthful for the first tracks name, goes through movements and changes
moreso than most in Crypt of the Wizard. This suffers to keep your
interest growing as the first of Stargates tracks progresses into
the I am the World piece on slot two. This one takes the climactic sound
up a notch. Im digging Stargate more than the previous album weve
talked about now, because it changes more often and moves more swiftly along.
By Across the World of Wonders weve grown into
a symphonic crescendo thats quite beautiful. Very strong music, moving
rhythms that will slow down without warning and speed up this is the
push I was hoping for throughout Crypt of the Wizard. A rushing march to
an epic battle. Passing By an Old and Razed Village softens a bit after
our march but maintains a strong sound. Female vocals are added here, adding a
new enchantment to the music.
I dug Stargate much more than Crypt of the
Wizard for its stronger movements and less repetitive make-up. Its a
much more powerful storyline somehow, with stronger climaxes and faster paced
rhythms. The two CDs however are extremely similar in what has gone into them,
using similar instrumentation and classical elements. Very different from what
I had been expecting what-with The Grudge being my first foray into
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