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Album Reviews : Mortemia – Misere Mortem

By on April 19, 2010

mortemia_miseremortem240The term ‘gothic metal’ has the ability to make some of us cringe or steer clear due to the endless glut of bands that came out under that banner content to merely add a few keyboards or female vocals to their metal in an attempt to obtain that ‘gothic’ feeling and it is sometimes forgotten that this was a style that, when done well, still has some merit.

Mortemia is the new project of Morten Veland who was a founding member of Tristania, from which he departed after their “Beyond The Veil” album that was released by Napalm Records in 1999, and more recently Sirenia who have released four albums through Nuclear Blast. “Misere Mortem” is the result of Morten writing all of the music and lyrics, performing all instruments as well as the producing, engineering and mixing of the album. The only external involvement in the project is the mastering by Mika Jussila at Finnvox Studios and the four members of the choir that is used throughout the album.

Of course, past experience shows that such an insular project has the potential to turn into a work of sheer indulgence but that is thankfully not the case here. “Misere Mortem” is based upon nine succinct songs that certainly have an obvious gothic flair but also never sacrifices the metal element that sometimes gets overshadowed in similar projects.

The music is built around heavy guitar riffs, subtle orchestration and growled vocals but what really sets it apart is the employment of the aforementioned choir to add power to each of the songs. Rather than utilising female vocals, which would have been a clichéd move far too similar to many other gothic metal releases, the choir gives a far more epic scope and their inclusion shows an attention to detail that enables  them to be incorporated into the music successfully.

For those familiar with Morten Veland’s previous bands it would be quite reasonable to put Mortemia somewhere between the two. “Misere Mortem” is nowhere near as involved or bombastic as his time in Tristania yet it is far more potent and aggressive than each of the releases by Sirenia have proven to be.

Ultimately the success of “Misere Mortem” is that it manages to fulfil all of the elements that one would expect from a gothic metal album but balances both facets equally. It is neither a metal album with keyboards superficially placed on top nor gothic tapestries with ill conceived metal elements but a well composed and produced album that exemplifies what can still be done in a form of metal that is often guilty of valuing style over substance.


Band: Mortemia
Misere Mortem
Gothic Metal
Napalm Records

Track Listing:
1. The One I Once Was
2. The Pain Infernal And The Fall Eternal
3. The Eye Of The Storm
4. The Malice Of Life’s Cruel Ways (Reviewers Choice)
5. The Wheel Of Fire
6. The Chains That Wield My Mind
7. The New Desire
8. The Vile Bringer Of Self Destructive Thoughts
9. The Candle At The Tunnel’s End


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.