“The Great Deceiver killed the band,” says Mortiis, frontman and namesake of the Norwegian ensemble. “As important as is it to myself and who I have become, I haven’t been able to think about it in any way other than ‘I need to just get this thing out of my life and behind me before I lose my mind.’”
It’s not that the record – Mortiis’ ninth - is anything less than stellar. Mortiis’ conflicted feelings toward The Great Deceiver is a result of its torturous state of constant evolution, leading Mortiis – the man and the band - through the darkest of places and back.
Its themes of anger, greed, confusion, self-doubt and re-discovery saturate the album, resulting in Mortiis’ most labored yet honest record yet. The twisted journey weaves its way through feelings of anger and resentment on “Demons are Back,” through the Biblical metaphors of “The Ugly Truth,” then takes on a disdain for greed in “The Shining Lamp of God,” “Feed the Greed” and “Scalding the Burnt.” Self-doubt comes to the forefront on “Sins of Mine,” personal darkness permeates “Too Little Too Late” and “Road to Ruin” expresses a near-admission of defeat, while “Doppelganger” hits upon pure schizophrenia. The cycle of The Great Deceiver takes Mortiis down a path of reparation, with an attempt to exorcize demons on “Hard to Believe” and accepts the ghosts of the past on “Bleed Like You.” The lyrical journey concludes with “The Great Leap,” one of the most lyrically affirmative songs of Mortiis’ career, with an expression of embracing great change.
Musically, The Great Deceiver continues along the winding path that Mortiis’ two-decade career has taken. “There are so many layers and experiments on this record, especially with guitars,” he explains. “We ran a million tracks through all the effects, pedals, rack units and plugins we could find, with more failure than success most of the time.” In the end, it all came together cohesively, mixing together aggressive guitar-driven crossover metal with industrial-type electronics, for a record that could easily be considered the most accessible in Mortiis’ catalog. Yet Mortiis remains in an un-classifiable musical genre, one that encompasses too many elements to be summed up by a simple two-word description.
“It just is what it is - too metal for the electronic crowd, too electronic for the metal crowd. It´s a paradox we´ve dealt with before. If it can´t be stereotyped, then run like hell! We just never adhered to the rules, whatever those rules have been. I never stopped to check and I have no intention of ever finding out. If following the rules will make us more like the rest, then no thanks…the rest doesn´t look that great.”
Mortiis’ last release, Perfectly Defect, which was issued as a completely free download, came in response to his admitted resentment toward the record industry. “My cynicism of the industry had become like a monster,” he says. “We decided that instead of bowing to the ridiculous demands and greed of the music industry, we gave away a record to the fans. Why feed the monster that pretends to be your friend, when in real life they couldn´t care less?”
Following the release of Perfectly Defect, Mortiis retreated to a self-imposed music industry exile, disgusted with the lies and politics that surrounded him and began questioning his own drive to continue creating music after more than 20 years.
The Great Deceiver has come at a high price, financially and mentally. “It kinda took my sanity away a little too,” says Mortiis. But the fortune of having an outlet to express all these intense emotions has not been lost on Mortiis either.
“Some people write when they´re upset, angry, sad, anguished, and so on…I can´t do that. I always write in hindsight of events,” he explains. “I never forget. I carry baggage around and when I´m calm and inspired I will bring that crap back out and relive it, under controlled circumstances. It´s nothing unique, but I like that I can do that, and that I have the privilege of turning all that negativity into something productive. Not everyone has that privilege, though, and they carry that shit around until their dying day. I guess that´s why some people go postal.”
Since the beginning of his career as a solo artist before Mortiis morphed into becoming a full band, visuals have a played a nearly as important a part as the music in Mortiis’ vision. While having shed the image of the past, Mortiis continues to develop the visual end of his art through hypnotic film-like video clips that accentuate the songs.
“I'm all about imagery, visuals, and adding great elements to the music,” says Mortiis. “I have been proving that amidst a storm of ridicule for 20+ years. I am still here, even though every fiber, every cell of my body tells me I´m an idiot for doing it. Maybe that´s because I am meant for this after all, or because I have a stronger faith in our new album than I thought I did…I don´t really know yet.”
OSLO, Norway - VardĂ¸ger, the first of three short films by noted Norwegian shock filmmaker Reinert Kiil and set to Mortiis' "Geisteskrank," will officially see release today, debuting on Decibel magazine's website at 11 a.m. EDT.
Kiil's mind-blowing visuals accompany Mortiis' track, recorded during the same sessions that yielded Mortiis' latest work, The Great Deceiver.
"The video unpleasantness continues," said Mortiis, who has already unveiled three graphically-intense videos from
The Great Deceiver. "A while back Norwegian horror director Reinert Kiil started his short film trilogy based on his own ugly descent into depravity and violence. Never ones to turn our backs to a good cause, we leaped at the opportunity to provide the soundtrack to what is essentially a good old bashing.
VardĂ¸ger is the first part. I've seen the next one, and it just keeps getting worse."
Kiil began toying around with filmmaking as an adolescent. The director has now gained notoriety as Norway's only Grindhouse filmmaker. Kiil's work with Mortiis is his first musical collaboration. Both parties were intrigued by the idea of delving into the other's artform, but both were waiting to find that kindred soul to capture a shared essence. Mortiis and Kiil found that in each other.
"The music is sonically fused with a glimpse of his soul - or crazed mind or whatever it might be - and it is complete, a sordid success," Mortiis said. "The result is sleazy, strange, disturbing, and extremely violent."
VardĂ¸ger featuring "Geisteskrank"
The band will return to the UK in April for a small warm-up tour, with full tour plans to follow.
May 23rd NEWCASTLE Cluny
May 24th GLASGOW Audio
May 25th MANCHESTER Ruby
May 26th BIRMINGHAM O2 Institute
May 27th BRIGHTON Haunt
May 28th LONDON Garage
May 29th BRISTOL Fleece
Tickets are on sale now at:
http://www.ticketweb.co.uk | https://www.stargreen.com
Check out the recently released videos for the tracks "Demons are Back," "Doppelganger" and "The Shining Lamp of God," all taken from The Great Deceiver:
"Demons are Back"
"The Shining Lamp of God"
OSLO - Mortiis will offer "Demons are Back," the third single from the new release
The Great Deceiver, as a free download single on April 1.
The download will also include a remix by Marc Urselli, and uncensored version ofÂ the video, screensavers, Facebook-ready headers and band photos.
The download is available here: CLICK HERE.
OSLO - The Great Deceiver, the long-awaited ninth album from Norway's Mortiis will officially see release today, March 4 via Omnipresence, and a video for the album's "Demons are Back" has been revealed in conjunction.
The Great Deceiver's long and tortured state of evolution took its toll equally on the band and its namesake, leading Mortiis to so much as state that the record killed the band. "As important as is it to myself and who I have become, I haven't been able to think about it in any way other than 'I need to just get this thing out of my life and behind me before I lose my mind,'" he said.
Saturated with themes of anger, greed, confusion, self-doubt and re-discovery, The Great Deceiver is undoubtedly Mortiis' most mature album to date. But that maturity came at a great cost mentally. "When we started talking about it and writing the record, we were a band, we had two managements, merch deals and tours were happening," Mortiis said. "During the course of the writing, recording, re-writing, and re-recording, we lost the connection with almost everyone. There were fallings out with band members to the point where we had to let them go. It was usually about delusion and defeat, the realization of being f**ked with and not getting the recognition deserved. It was never pretty, but in hindsight always understandable.
"I have been accused of being a lot of things: self-centered, manipulative, unstable, hot- headed, paranoid, the list goes on. Most everyone I have spent some time with have had beefs with me. TheyÂ´re all right, too...it's the price of being driven and passionate - or just narrow minded and obsessive - about something is often the loss of friends and colleagues."
The Great Deceiver builds on Mortiis' past dabbling in metal and industrial, with aggressive guitar-driven crossover metal meeting industrial-type electronics. Although genre-defying, The Great Deceiver is Mortiis' most accessible release to date.
With its hauntingly memorable chorus, "Demons are Back" is a perfect example of this accessibility, while also providing an overall narrative for the album.
"Anger, resentment...I hate everyone," the band's namesake said. "These feelings are like waves. During the 'good times' they are far away in the distance, and occasionally they come washing ashore in huge waves of 'I hate everyone.' It's a thin line between being in sync with the world and wanting to annihilate everyone you see. 'Demons are Back' is a conflicted song, in the sense that I let both sides in, or out, and both voices are heard. It's therapeutic in a sense, and in another sense it is chaotic and confusing. But, again, I try to create some sort of positivity in the harangue of spitefulness. It's really down to the logical, sensible me, telling the disturbed, pessimistic me to chill out."
The video shows a grotesquely-masked voyeur watching dystopian scenes of utter despair, sadism and eventually, suicide through an array of TV screens, as his own life ends violently. "The mask was inspired partly by a very violent dream I once had," said Mortiis. "The violence was absolutely relentless."
The clip uses scenes from writer/director Charlie Deaux's Zoetrope, a film based upon Franz Kafka's In the Penal Colony. At the suggestion of Deaux, whom Mortiis previously work with on "The Grudge" video, the band spent a day in Oslo filming additional footage to splice in with images from the original film. With a minimal set and crew - guitarist Levi Gawron acting as directing and Mortiis himself handling special effects - the band captured original scenes that seamlessly compliment those from Zoetrope in frantic stop-motion created by Deaux himself.
"Demons are Back" is available here:
Mortiis previously offered a glimpse at the new material trough two videos and free downloads for the tracks "Doppleganger" and "The Shining Lamp of God," as well as on a warm-up tour in the US with Mushroomhead late last year. The band will return to the UK for another small warm-up just after The Great Deceiver's release, with full tour plans to follow.
MORTIIS 'demons are back' UK TOUR
OSLO - Mortiis has issued a statement regarding his infamous mask, which made its return in a short video clip released earlier this week.
"For years I've been stubbornly telling everyone who wanted me to revive the mask to get f**ked, more or less.
The idea of the mask just rotted away for me, and for a long time it was just this vile thing that I couldnÂ´t relate to. It was someone else, and everyone wanted me to go back to being someone else, so how do you think I'd react to that?
I needed to go full circle. I suppose I had this sort of nihilistic view of the mask for a long time. It just lost all meaning to me. So I eventually worked my way through the disillusionment, hate, indifference and finally back into the reincarnated goodwill towards it.
The return of the mask - at least for it to be part of the equation again - had to happen sooner or later. I guess I just needed to put a lot of stuff in its right place in my mind before I was ready to consider putting it back on. Let's face it, though, I'm a sucker for visual sh*t, so obviously the mask was bound to come back at some point. I just wasn't ready to admit it to myself until now, and certainly not to some entitled ass hat yelling that he wants it back."
View the video clip here:
OSLO - For the first time ever, composer Martin Romberg has taken on the task of transcribing influential black metal into full classical sheet music, beginning with Emperor's 1994 masterpiece In the Nightside Eclipse.
"Martin has clearly put a lot of time and effort into transferring the Nightside Eclipse record into actual sheet music," said original Emperor bassist Mortiis, "and it's cool to be a small part of that."
The 72-page score includes all instruments and chord analysis for study and performance.
It is published by Raven Music Editions, a sheet music publisher founded in 2014, specializing in producing scores from dark alternative and black metal music genres. It is the first publisher of its kind. The score is available via www.ravenmusic.org.
In the 20 years since In the Nightside Eclipse's release, Mortiis has gone on an eponymous journey that began as solo dark, ambient music and has since evolved into a full band playing equally dark, angry, industrial-influenced heavy music. Mortiis' long-awaited new album will be available March 4.
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