Album Title: Mortem Solis
Label: Century Media Records
Date of Release: 29 July 2022
One thing about music that never ceases to interest me, is the way in which some artists can enjoy a long and successful career, whilst others do not, despite creating a final product that’s not a whole lot different. Sometimes, it is a case of being in the right place at the right time, whilst at other times, I like to think that it has something to do with the talent and hard work of those involved. In the case of Krisiun, the latter is definitely a factor because, since their creation back in the early 90s, the Brazilian death metal outfit have released numerous demos, splits, and Eps, not to mention eleven studio albums.
Krisiun have the talent too, as just a few minutes of listening to their music will attest. Still comprised of the core trio that set out on their musical journey over 30 years ago, Messrs Alex Camargo (bass, vocals), Max Kolesne (drums), and Moyses Kolesne (guitars) have all the skills necessary to plunder the death metal genre to devastating effect. From minute one of ‘Mortem Solis’, their twelfth full-length, the skill, hunger, and desire to batter the listener into submission is abundantly clear. Sharp, meaty riffs, thunderous drumming, and savage vocals all combine to create an intense extreme metal album.
When I was growing up and getting into heavier forms of music, I was not a connoisseur of straight-up death metal. I felt, at the time, that this was a form of music that was a bit ‘samey’, that it was brutal and heavy just for the sake of it. As an unashamed lover of melody, it largely passed me by in my teens. I now understand that this line of thought was thoroughly misguided, because death metal is so much for than grunt-riff-grunt-blast. Not in the case of Krisiun though, it seems.
Ok, so I’m being way too harsh with that last statement, but the fact remains that I find the music on ‘Mortem Solis’ to be a little too one-dimensional. As I listened, I struggled for a while before realising that what I felt was missing was personality. It takes until the fourth song, ‘Necronomical’, before I become actively engaged with the music to which I am listening. Up until then, you can’t fault the intensity, the dexterity, the power, and the bruising nature of the music. Neither can you fault the production, which affords the music sufficient muscle and clarity to pack the necessary punch. But I don’t find myself warming to the output.
The opening track, ‘Sworn Enemies’ is a decent enough, with some excellent riffs buried within it. The vocals of Camargo are full of venomous intent, albeit nothing unique or outstanding. The drums mete out a pulverising beat, accented by the bass nicely, as the speed varies between fast and even faster. There’s a touch of groove, but not as much as I’d like, whilst any semblance of conventional melody as you might expect, is non-existent.
And so it continues, with track after track of unadulterated ferocity for the better part of three-quarters of an hour. With a run-time of this length and precious little deviation from their modus operandi, I can’t help but feel fatigued and, dare I say it, more than a little bored by the end. ‘Mortem Solis’ just feels longer than it is, which is never a good thing.
However, the aforementioned ‘Necronomical’ is a little different, and enjoyable as such. I find myself interested in the song, nodding along as there’s an increased amount of groove, created by a concerted effort to take the foot off the accelerator pedal. There are bursts of barely contained speed, where the lead guitar of Moyses makes a nice impact, but for the most part, this is a slower, more menacing song, with increased dark atmosphere layered into the mix. I quite like the follow-up, ‘Tomb Of The Nameless’ too, an altogether faster track, where squealing lead breaks threaten to spiral out of control but which, at other times, create a rather cheeky sounding catchiness. There’s a vague Middle Eastern flavour to the song as well, which I like, and which brings the Nile comparisons a little more to the fore.
‘Temple Of The Abattoir’ features some nice riffs within it, but it’s just too long, unable to fully justify its length of nearly six minutes, whilst the last couple of songs suffer from being at the tail end of such a draining aural journey.
I fully accept that this kind of unrelenting ferocity and bludgeoning music will hit many of you right in the sweet spot. If you are someone who enjoys the musical equivalent of being hit repeatedly around the head with a breeze block, then there is no doubting the enjoyment that you will derive from ‘Mortem Solis’. As usual, Krisiun deliver their uncompromising brand of death metal with plenty of impressive technical ability, and a hunger and spite that cannot be argued against. For my tastes though, I am left somewhat underwhelmed by the album, wishing that there was more of that vital ingredient, personality, within the thunderous content.
The Score of Much Metal: 72%