MORTANIUS - Till Death Do Us Part

Mortanius - Till Death Do Us Part

5 songs
47:33 minutes
***** ****
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There is a musical genre I am not particularly fond of: progressive power metal. Experience has shown that this specific subgenre of metal is usually not that progressive, compared to bands like Dream Theater or Fates Warning, and also lack the promised power that you find in your typical US metal bands like Armored Saint, Omen etc.

Yet sometimes you come across a band that manages to draw a bridge between these two genres, even if in the case of Mortanius, they lean more towards the progressive spectrum of music. Founded in Pennsylvania in 2013, Mortanius currently consist of vocalist Lucas Flocco and bassist Jesse Shaw, who where helped out by session musicians on their first longplayer Till Death Do Us Part, coming after three EPs released between 2014 and 2016. The first thing to notice is that this album only contains five songs, starting with Facing The Truth, at five minutes the shortest track featured here. The production could be a little more powerful, but the passion with which this song has been recorded makes up for that. Flocco may look like a grim, bearded man, but his high-pitched voice definitely has something. I can well understand that itís a love-it-or-hate-it situation, but you can count me in among the former. The song itself comes at a brisk pace where guitar and keyboards are full of baroque flourishes, and the rhythm section keeping it all tight and heavy. It feels a little like early Dream Theater meeting up with Rhapsody Of Fire. Up next are two longer songs, Disengage at ten and Jaded at nine minutes, and the question I was asking myself was if Mortanius would also be able to keep that high level on their more elaborate material. Donít worry, because especially Disengage surprises with a wonderful chorus. Add to that some progressive metal gimmickry, and you wonít be bore for any one second on this expansive track. Jaded is another winner, before we come to the piŤce-de-rťsistance: the eighteen-and-a-half-minute long title track. Just like the preceding long tracks, the band offers idea upon idea, and the songís middle part is brimming with technical joy, where I especially liked the playful bass solo. The album ends with a cover version of Whamís "beloved" Last Christmas, performed in a possibly completely unironic power metal ballad rendition. If this surprises you, you should know that Mortanius have since their first EP always covered unexpected pop songs from Billy Joel, 'N Sync and most notably Aqua whose Barbie Girl metal cover version is just from out of this world.

If you like your progressive metal melodic but also playful, then Mortanius might just be the band that takes you back to the innocent early years when there was still so much to discover. They certainly donít reinvent the genre, but they are one of the rare bands able to mesmerise with really good and catchy songwriting, a feat rarer and rarer these days.

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