Monday, August 24, 2009

Mortiis - Født til å Herske

Mortiis was born to rule in his castle filled with endless dungeons from which he spews his mind droning tales of a world of creation, time, and imagination. The album title, “Født til å Herske” or “Born to Rule” in English, is about a forlorn king who wanders his own lands which he created. Shaping the world of dark and eloquent themes and landscapes, including his very own tower where he sits and views his creation with pride. Clocking in at 53 minutes, the first of the “Era 1” Mortiis albums sets a remarkably high standard from which few albums have surpassed since. If you can get past the troll image of Mortiis and focus on the core musicianship on the album, you will realize it speaks for itself, and the troll-like image just so happens to complements the atmosphere.

“Født til å Herske” has only one specific song with the same title split up into two parts. As soon as part one opens with the droning of the synthesizer, you are immersed within a musical wall of the so called “dungeon music”. The song has the same general progression, with different droning sounds and melodies including a trumpet and horn around the 11 minute mark which will leave you captivated until the end. It’s actually hard not to get captivated by the music, unless you aren’t a fan of ambient or dark ambient. When you look at the cover, you will be drawn into the world where you are the ruler and creator of your own world. Some may complain and cry repetition, but the song is very complex and varies in nostalgic melody changes throughout the course of the song. The transition between the two parts could have been improvised a bit better on Mortiis’ part, although he did record this entire song at once on his classic Casio keyboard he just learned to play two years earlier.

The second part is fairly similar to the first, but includes vocals towards the end from Mortiis himself. They are subtle and flow neatly with the atmosphere so that they are not too obvious and drawn out, but complement the speed and tone of the song as well. After the vocals fade, the concluding progression keeps you suppressed within the song for the remaining two to three minutes. From there is where the journey within the dungeon will cease. Mortiis will retreat from his throne, out of the dungeon and fog and remove his troll wear.

This album fits well listened to alone at night, but also as an intermission in between the classic Norwegian black metal albums; most preferably Emperor, from which Mortiis was apart of for the self-titled EP. It surprisingly fits well because Mortiis left Emperor to create this very own project which just so happens to sound quite good one after another. This truly is a masterpiece of ambient work. It’s surprising to think that at one time he actually knew how to compose such beautiful and spellbinding ambiance. Født til å Herske” will remain the same and each time I hear it I can easily get immersed within the medieval world of creation and imagination. There is hardly anything to complain about. It’s very simple yet complex. The structure of both parts is evenly distributed and the flow is constant. What prevents me from giving this a perfect score is the emotional level which is less apparent in “Født til å Herske” then the albums to follow. Also the fading transition in between the songs could have been organized better. Despite the minor flaws, this is the gateway album which has led me to explore more atmospheric, visual, and ambient styles of music.