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3.75 out of 5 skulls
December 1, 2014 | ,

Mortals Cursed to See The Future

Brooklyn’s Mortals are a band that I’m not wholly familiar with, but if Cursed to See the Future is any indication, I’m going to have to start following the trio as they develop their sound and put out more material. The blackened sludge — and doom — forming the six songs presented for our listening pleasure drip with despair despite their frigid overall feeling. And I dig the Hell out of it.

“View from the Tower” gets things started with nearly seven minutes of driving riffage, blackened tones and some seriously impressive drum work. The vocals are scathing and come courtesy bassist Lesley Wolf (who also provides bruising low-end to the album) and guitarist Elizabeth Cline. Caryn Havlik’s drumwork more than impresses throughout the album as she seamlessly shifts from rollicking thunder to furious blasts with ease. This isn’t all blast and fast metal here. There’s some serious atmosphere to CTSTF that only adds to its appeal.

Doom certainly has a place in the band’s sound as evident by the crawling bass of “Epochryphal Gloom” and it’s dirge-like cadence. The eight minute plus song slowly builds to a peak with rolling drumwork, cold guitars and shrieked, blackened vocals. It’s one of the more evil tracks on the sophomore effort. The nine minute runner “Devilspell” is as frigid as a song can get, it’s icy riffs driving you over rumbling bass and steady drum work to a mid-tempo gallop that will have your head banging along quicker than you realize. There’s a good bit of groove within the chilly depths of this song.

“Series of Decay” is just about as straightforward black metal as the band gets on the album — at least before they throw in some slick guitar and raucous tempo shifts. It took a bit to grow on me initially, but I can dig it. The shortest song on the album — at four and a half minutes — is “Anchored in Time.” The album closer moves at the rate of decay, cruising along at a crawl with massive riffs and steady drumming. Despite it’s overall slower pace, the vocals feel even more vehement than the rest of the album. The juxtaposition between the two is intriguing as it adds depth to the song.

Cursed to See the Future may be mired in sludge, but there’s a chill in the air as Mortals deliver blackened atmosphere with a strong doom leaning. This is one of those albums that I didn’t get upon first listen. It had to fester in my head for a while before I succumbed to it’s dark, bleak charms. And I’m glad I did, there’s no sophomore slump here.

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