Mortiis - _The Grudge_
(Earache Records, 2004)
by: Jackie Smit (8.5 out of 10)
By now, it's safe to say that anyone expecting Mortiis to return to the conceptual days of old would be borderline delusional. While _The Smell of Rain_ did draw a distinct dividing line between those who admired the latexed one for having the testicular fortitude to reinvent himself so poignantly, and those for whom "Parasite God" was a death knell rather than a victory cry, it did catapult the man into a greater sphere of public conscience than he had ever known. Perhaps more importantly, it made a largely disdainful world finally sit up and take Mortiis, the artist, seriously.

Now clearly more comfortable in his role as the consummate front man, Mortiis has not so much revolutionized as distilled the blueprint laid down on _The Smell of Rain_. Yes, this is, as he has been claiming, a much harder album; but it certainly isn't without its fair share of catchy, and dare I say, radio-friendly hooks. In fact, hard as it may have been to believe this a few years ago, songs like "Way Too Wicked" could very easily see Mortiis become staple MTV programming. For those not put off by this fact and who do take the trouble to dig into the core of this album, _The Grudge_ proves to be a very rewarding listening experience. Reminiscent on several occasions of a meeting between latter-day Ministry and David Bowie, some of Mortiis' finest moments can be found in the drum 'n' bass-influenced grooves of "Broken Skin", the electro-punk snarl of "Decadent & Desperate" and the reflective ambience of "The Loneliest Thing". Not that it's a veritable coup de grace, mind you. It does improve on _The Smell of Rain_ by leaps and bounds, but there are still times when Mortiis' ego just can't seem to relegate itself to second fiddle over his ability to write songs. Then again, who can argue that this hasn't always formed part and parcel of the man's appeal?


(article published 23/9/2004)

9/23/2004 J Smit Mortiis: The Gloves Are Off
12/9/1999 A McKay Mortiis: The Shadow's Soul Between Obscurity and Oblivion
10/11/1996 S Hoeltzel Mortiis: Mind Melding With Mortiis
10/19/2001 A McKay 6.5 Mortiis - The Smell of Rain
3/5/2000 P Schwarz 6 Mortiis - Fodt Til a Herske
1/1/1998 S Hoeltzel 7.5 Mortiis - Crypt of the Wizard
12/9/1999 G Filicetti Mortiis / Christian Death / Godhead / Diet of Worms The Black Metal Opera Arriveth
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