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April 17, 2024

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The Stargate (Earache Records)

By: Jeb Branin

I have tried. Honestly I have. But I just can't take a guy dressed as an "evil" elf seriously. I'm talking fake latex hooked nose and pointy ears, cloth wings and long scary fingernails. He looks like every third kid who comes trick or treating at my door each Halloween. Okay.... I will make an effort to overlook the totally silly persona and concentrate on sizing up the music. Ooops. I didn't mean "sizing up". That might be construed as a slam at someone dressed like a small sized elf. What I meant is... I'll try and analyze the music. Ooops. "Analyze" was a bad choice of words. It might be taken as implying a man who dresses like an elf needs to see an "analyst". You know, a shrink. Ooops. "Shrink" is another word that might be misunderstood in the context of a small stature elf. What I'm trying to say is let's just look at the music. Ooops. Not "look". Looking at this guy is what got me into trouble in the first place. Let's "listen" to the music. There that works. Musically this is pretty stunning. A sometimes serene, sometimes disturbing and always mysterious excursion through the outer limits of atmospheric experimentation. The music is a whirling mist through which you can only discern fleeting glimpses of shadowy figures because the light is hazy, almost surreal, as it is filtered out. Listening to this triggers the same pathos as reading epic fantasy. The type of fantasy that might contain stories of demons, ogres and, yes, elves. So, admittedly, there is a natural connection here to the whole "elf" thing. But I gotta tell you the music would be no less effective, and in some ways more so, if Mortiis would let his imaginative music spark the imagination of his audience instead of force feeding them an elfin character that by its very iconography limits and contains the imagination and drives it down a Tolkien-esque path. I've also got to wonder what in the hell has people so scared? Mortiis concerts all over the world are being canceled or banned or picketed. Are people really that afraid of a stupid looking elf? Or is it because he was in a black metal band infamous for their bigotry and violence? Probably the later. Well they better be careful picking on Mortiis because I hear that elves can make themselves invisible and cause all kinds of trouble.
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