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Mortalicum - The Endtime Prophecy

Mortalicum
The Endtime Prophecy
by Phillip Lawless at 13 August 2012, 5:21 PM

MORTALICUM is a Swedish group that pulls inspiration from many legendary Rockers of old. If the band were a cake recipe, it would include something like two parts BLACK SABBATH, one part DIO and a dash of RAINBOW and PENTAGRAM.

Production-wise, Henrik Högl’s singing voice seems to be the focal point. While the band holds down decent grooves and turns in an admirable performance, the vocals are mixed loud and high. In fact, it’s almost like there’s a space between the vocals and the rest of the music. I’m not sure what the intent was here, but it is a tad distracting to these ears.

The first six songs on “The Endtime Prophecy” are all in the four minute range, and they seem to stick to a standard framework. Opener “My Dying Soul” has a burly and busy riff, and it is a great choice for the opener. The punchy chorus and catchy verses make this a standout track on the album. “Revelation Within” opens with a 45-second guitar intro before it kicks into a set riff. While the main part of the track is another buzz saw, pushy riff, the chorus is open and more like hard rock. Though it’s still fast, title track “The Endtime Prophecy” definitely tries for a more epic feel. At best, this song is mildly successful in broadening the album’s scope.

“When Hell Freezes Over” slows the tempo and brings a little grit to the proceedings. Unfortunately, the pumped-up vocals here tend to overpower the other members’ respectable performances. “Devil’s Hand” includes the lyrics “So it is told, in the book of old. Turn the cross upside down and secrets will unfold.” I give it an A++ for that alone. “Dark Night” unfortunately is not about Batman. Instead, it’s a Hard Rock tune that is a bit boring.

The final three tracks finally break the mold and include some different song lengths and textures. “Ballad of a Sorrowful Man” clocks in at almost seven minutes. It has a soft verse that builds to a heavy, chunky chorus. The expanded length also allows for some serious guitar soloing as well. Running almost 11 minutes, “Embracing Our Doom” is an ambitious change of pace, and the beginning of the track is reminiscent of the first six songs. Rollicking drums and a nice riff push everything along. After about four minutes, the song slows and it spreads into an instrumental showcase. Multiple and impressive guitar solos build and build; then the final three minutes are a rocking conclusion. “The End” is a two-and-a-half minute outro made up of clean guitars and vocals. It’s something of a subdued ending for the album.

My opinion of this album actually changed as I was writing. Though nothing really stuck with me through my early listens, when I was able to tune in enough to hear the music in spite of the vocals I liked the songs a bit more. And honestly, if the vocals were a bit more even in the mix, this album would be a lot more enjoyable. 

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. My Dying Soul
2. Revelation Within
3. The Endtime Prophecy
4. When Hell Freezes Over
5. Devil’s Hand
6. Dark Night
7. Ballad of a Sorrowful Man
8. Embracing Our Doom
9. The End
Lineup:
Henrik Högl – Vocals, Guitar
Mikael  Engström – Guitar
Patrick Backlund – Bass
Andreas Häggström – Drums
Record Label: Metal On Metal Records
     


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