Mortiis – The Grudge (2004)

July 21, 2014
Mortiis – The Grudge (2004)

Whilst this is entirely on the other end of the industrial metal spectrum that I prefer not to get too close to, The Grudge was one of favourite records as a teenager. Over the last few years I have learned that there is a lot more to industrial than crappy guitars layered with crappy dance music and ripping off old Nine Inch Nails tracks, but that’s another story. Mortiis’ first Era 3 release was a puzzling mix of awkward techno and fuzzy metal, not a hundred million miles away from The Smell Of Rain, but so far removed from any of his Era 1 music you’d swear it was a totally different musical genius at the helm. Nope. Mortiis is one of those artists that has evolved in sheer leaps over the last 20 years.

I like The Grudge, don’t get me wrong, but compared to The Smell Of Rain before it, it pales in comparison. The Smell Of Rain had such a distinct and wonderful sound, but The Grudge, whilst it has it’s moments of sheer brilliance, is for the most part clumsy, badly mixed and lacking direction. It is equal parts amazing and awful. The over-all vibe is much more angsty and rougher around the edges (it’s almost like this album should have been made first, and The Smell Of Rain should be it’s more focused and chilled-out follow up) but some of my favourite Mortiis songs are on here. Opener “Broken Skin” sounds like it’s been mixed by a 4 year old, but that doesn’t stop it being one of the greatest Mortiis songs, writing wise. “The Grudge” is the song that got me hooked into this album with it’s constant rotation on Scuzz TV; a clanking dancey nightmare that unfolds into some serious industrial metal heaviness.

The longest track here, “The Worst In Me” is a brooding nightmare of riffs and synths, and the first few minutes of “The Loneliest Thing” is by far the best shit on this record; it starts with a cool, semi-acoustic opening with resonant chords fighting over fluttering hi-hats, leading into some heavy drumming and haunting vocal performances. Sheer, sheer brilliance. Closing track “Asthma”, is a quick nod back to the days of old, fading the record out with a couple of minutes of nothing more than meandering, hollow ambience. Bliss.

I originally bought this on CD with my first ever paycheck back in 2005 (who can forget what they bought with their first paycheck?). I got the “Mortiis pack” off Earache Records, which was the entire Mortiis-on-Earache discography and a crappy Earache t-shirt, but they made a mistake and sent me two copies of The Grudge (one being the special edition) instead of a copy of The Stargate, and I had to send it back for a swap. In hindsight, I probably should have said it was missing, flogged it, and got a free copy of The Stargate. Oh well. Recently the label have been selling these old vinyl copies of The Grudge off for £7 including postage, so I couldn’t resist picking one up. I was hoping for the bright purple but I got the clear.

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