Soundchecks Music Reviews

Smell of Rain

Earache Records

THE SMELL OF RAIN
Mortiis

review by Michael Lohr

This record came as a shock. Mortiis, former bassist with Norwegian death metal legends Emperor, has, to say the least, forged an excellent solo recording career for himself. His music is lightyears from his death metal counterparts. In his music one can hear the strains of Peter Murphy/ Bauhaus, The Sisters Of Mercy, Enigma, Skinny Puppy and Ziggy Stardust era David Bowie, not to mention an occasional nod to the Scandinavian metal scene that birthed him. Listening to tracks like Parasite God or Everybody Leaves, one can feel the remoteness, the brooding; the suffering. It echoes in his words like a torch cutting through the darkest of nights. You Put A Hex On Me is probably the best song on this CD. I can see the goa and trance clubs in Ibiza looping this one for hours on end.

He set the standard for dark wave, ambient rock with his now classic, The Stargate recording. The Smell Of Rain is his follow-up to that record, and what he has created with it is nothing less than a mysterious, compelling masterpiece. Mortiis is one of modern music's last bastions of true artistic expression. In a redundant, derivative, MTV-dominated musical landscape scarred by years of unfiltered shit, i.e., boy bands, teeny-bop hooker/singer wannabes, gangsta rap pimps and false metal angst (Limp Bizkit, Creed), Mortiis, like his label-mates, Godflesh, offer a visual and musical cleansing that is basically a shotgun blast to the head of all things mundane.

Simply put, The Smell Of Rain is the record that Trent Reznor should have done for the last Nine Inch Nails record, instead of that piss bowl of a disc we had served to us. Oh, did I mention Mortiis, for those that don't know, looks like a hobgoblin? Well he does, and if you have a problem with it, I'm sure he would love to invite you to his castle, deep in the wolf-infested woods of far north Norway, to discuss it.


Edited by Tony Lee
for PIGASUS Press