Album review: Mortiis - Keiser av en Dimension Ukjent (Cold Meat Industry, 1995)
Any listener of Black Metal will surely be aware of our friend Mortiis and his prosthetic troll nose. he played bass on early Emperor recordings before starting his own solo project about as far away from BM as you can get in terms of sound, but in terms of atmosphere it isn't as detatched as you might think. This is my favourite Mortiis album and I think the last of what is known as "Era 1" - the "dungeon synth" style he created (along with acts like Wongraven from Satyricon's frontman Satyr), before Mortiis albums became more streamlined and based on individual songs ("The Stargate" and so on) and before he tragically slipped and fell into Marilyn Manson's ass. Or something.
Early Mortiis is all about loooong compositions devoted to transporting your mind away from this world and into his. There are two songs on this album and they're both over 20 minutes in length. They consist of passages of sorrowful and triumphant melodies, classically inspired perhaps. There is also spoken word and some chanting from the troll himself. The sound of the album is heavily MIDI based, think slightly cheesy mid 90s sampling keyboard patches and you're pretty much on the mark. Yes the album does have that very "dated" sound and there may be one or two rather cheesy sounds in there, does this damage it? I think not, if anything it further enhances the atmosphere of which there is plenty (this is no "Daudi Baldrs" believe me, and even then I can find some saving graces in that mostly hated album). The construction and ambience of the pieces is just brilliant.
Right from the beginning this music will conjure up images of desolate landscapes, ruins and forgotten memories. Or something along those lines. As it is basically ambient music I imagine it makes good background sound for reading, I personally like to just stick it on and lose my head in it. This guy clearly had a vision at this time and on an album like this, its a great thing to behold.