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  • Mortiis   ( 11 Articles )

    Image: Mortiis, Mazur PR

    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 havent 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.

    Its 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. Its a paradox weve dealt with before. If it cant 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 thanksthe rest doesnt 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 couldnt 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 theyre upset, angry, sad, anguished, and so onI cant do that. I always write in hindsight of events, he explains. I never forget. I carry baggage around and when Im calm and inspired I will bring that crap back out and relive it, under controlled circumstances. Its 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 thats 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 Im an idiot for doing it. Maybe thats because I am meant for this after all, or because I have a stronger faith in our new album than I thought I didI dont really know yet.

  • Beltfed Weapon   ( 2 Articles )
  • Metro Station   ( 2 Articles )

    Image: Metro Station, Mazur PR, Michael Mazur

    In April 2010, after months of rumors and whispers, Trace Cyrus took to Ustream and made the announcement fans dreaded: “As many of you already know, Metro Station is taking a break—and I think it’s a permanent break.” Wearing oversized sunglasses, sporting a pin-straight, asymmetrical haircut and rocking a jean jacket open enough to show his many chest tattoos, the singer/guitarist said the words with conviction. The band was over and everyone was moving on. Cyrus had already started his own solo project, Ashland High, and while fellow Metro Station singer Mason Musso continued to produce music and perform under the existing moniker, the resurrection was half-hearted and intermittent, at best. However, the combination of time and perspective managed to make the impossible occur by bringing two former musical collaborators and best friends back together.

    “It was a case of too much success too quickly,” Cyrus admits while sitting outside a coffee shop in North Hollywood in July 2014. “I remember when we were doing it—playing with Fall Out Boy, Good Charlotte and Miley [Cyrus], filling arenas, opening for Lady Gaga overseas—we always wanted more. Instead of sitting back and saying to ourselves, ‘Whoa, we’re really doing something great,’ we just wanted more.”

    “Our 20-year-old egos were going, ‘I’m the shit,’” Musso interjects, sipping on a large ice tea next to Cyrus. “I never felt like anything was enough, but as Trace always says, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

    Judging from their familiar rapport, it’s hard to believe the two spent four years apart with zero communication—Cyrus didn’t even have Musso’s phone number during that time—until Musso decided to reach out in October 2013. Much like a clandestine relationship, the pair have been hanging out ever since, but they chose to keep their reconciliation private instead of flaunting it to the world, at least not until they were both ready to go public. So how was the duo able to work through their problems? “I think we both just matured as people and as musicians,” Cyrus explains. “As far as friendship goes, at 25, you realize what’s important to argue about and what’s not. It’s easier to communicate when you’re older. When you’re younger, you let your emotions get in the way. Now we can talk it through. That’s what our issues were in the past; we had horrible communications skills.”

    What was never an issue for Cyrus and Musso was writing hit songs together. The band’s 2007 self-titled album—which included tracks like “Seventeen Forever” and “Kelsey”—has sold more than 500,000 copies and its third single, “Shake It,” was certified platinum, having sold more than 2.7 million copies. The song also cracked the Top 10 on the Billboard charts in 2008 and the accompanying video has racked up 47 million YouTube views to date. In other words, when Metro Station decided to throw in the towel, they were experiencing the kind of exponential rise most bands would kill for. “The goal is to be the biggest band in the world,” Cyrus says with the confidence of a star athlete. “If you’re going to do something, why not try and be the best? Even if we don’t achieve that one day, we know we tried. We did all we could. Everyone has the same chance to make it in this industry; it just depends how good your songs are and how hard you’re willing to make it.”

    Now that Musso and Cyrus have reunited, they have been touring with a variety of different bands and have released an EP called Gold, which features new songs like “Love And War” and “She Likes Girls,” along with an 18 song mix tape entitled “Savior” featuring their newest release “Married In Vegas”; both of which blend the group’s signature electro-pop melodies and newfound lyrical depth. The band has also recorded tons of new material, but they aren’t in a rush to put out a full-length album—yet.

    Not only does the future look bright, but the possibilities are endless for Metro Station. “I really think in the long run, we’re going to look back at the breakup as a blessing from God,” Cyrus says with complete sincerity. “I’m very religious so I feel like God kinda came in, took everything we had away from us and slapped us on the wrist, saying, ‘You need to learn, you need to appreciate what I’m giving you.’ I feel like this is our second chance to make things right and to prove that we enjoy doing this and appreciate it.

  • Enemy Remains   ( 2 Articles )
  • Lydia   ( 1 Article )

Artists On Video

Metro Station - "Married In Vegas"

Say We Can Fly - "I Will Find My Soul"

SayWeCanFly - "Between The Roses"

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