May 28, 2012

Mortalicum - The Endtime Prophecy ...

Alright we all know that Sweden are masters at producing great stoner metal, doom metal and retro riff rock bands but people often forget how great they are producing incredible straight-ahead heavy metal bands and Mortalicum are certainly one of the best. The band impressed everyone with their spectacular 'Progress of Doom' album released a couple of years ago. However this new album fine-tunes their classic metal style and while they haven't changed at all really, this new opus sounds even more infectious and has even more finesse (if that is possible). Mortalicum stand out on their own among other Swedish acts. They are more old-school than Grand Magus and less stonerish than a Spiritual Beggars and have neatly carved out their own little niche within the retro-metal scene.

They are not just another throw-back band either but they are certainly not following any real modern metal trends. They are known as a heavy doom band but there are far more traditional heavy metal elements going here than the usual doom metal album. The band has always had a sound that gets its roots from Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Rainbow and Judas Priest but there is also a classic Maryland doom scene vibe that pops up more than once on 'The Endtime Prophecy.' I think of bands like Iron Man and The Obsessed a lot while listening to this album and is it that blending of sounds and styles that makes this so addictive.

Just like their first album, this comes released on the great Metal on Metal label which seems to know a classy heavy metal act when they hear it. The amount of quality acts on the label is quite staggering and as with all of their releases, the artwork and production is second to none. As a band Mortalicum are gifted in more ways than one. Vocalist and also guitarist Henrik Högl has a warm, charismatic voice that has a fiercely commanding presence and he is also an excellent axe-slinger while Mikael Engström - guitars and Patrick Backlund - bass guitar are always impressive players. On drums, Andreas Häggström unleashes a precise performance throughout this album so you have a very tight machine at work right here. The style of the band might not have changed at all but the songwriting seems more mature with the melodic nature of the band really coming to the fore-front of their sound.

The album wastes no time in getting the metal flowing with exciting riffs and melodies. The opening duo of 'My Dying Soul' and 'Revelation Within' are both thrilling examples of mid 70's/early 80's heavy metal without sounding too ancient and while this is pretty heavy driving metal, it is all very accessible for the average rock music listener. The title track and 'When Hell Freezes Over' further showcase the more mature songwriting approach they have unleashed for this album. While the band might not win any awards for originality, they more than make up for it in the classy execution of their song melodies, riffs and arrangements. As the album progresses however, the darker is seems to get. 'Devil's Hand' and the very Maryland doomish 'Dark Night' are very foreboding tunes and are well.......mesmerizingly good but it is the next two songs where the album reaches its peak of brilliance. 'Ballad of a Sorrowful Man' and 'Embracing Our Doom' make up for more than 18 minutes of the albums playing time and it is pure hair-raising, chill up the spine majestic doomy metal that are worth the purchase price alone.

'Embracing Our Doom' is particularly majestic as it builds, moves and twists into a magical epic that even Candlemass would be proud of owning. The album comes to an end on something called 'The End' and it is a sorrowful, emotional ending to a very classy album. The best way for me to sum up this album is to say this is stylish hard rock with a doomy flavor made for lovers of the classic 70's rock aesthetic....If you are a fan of Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Thin Lizzy and modern bands such as Sesta Marconi, Spiritual Beggars and Grand Magus you will want to pick this baby up as soon as possible...9/10.

Mortalicum | Official Website
Mortalicum | Facebook
Mortalicum Reviews & Interview | Doommantia
Metal on Metal Records | Official Site & Store

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