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Mortor: Shoot 'Em Up

To paraphrase a popular internet / Lord of the Rings meme: One does not simply walk into Mortor.

Now that I've got that out of my way, I really would like to say a few things about Mortor's sophomore release Shoot 'Em Up, a tough, technical, album that will quickly grab your attention and refuse to let go. The music sounds, mostly, like a cross between thrash and death metal with some rhythmic bits and pieces taken from Grindcore. The result is quite strong, if a bit too consistent. I haven't heard Mortor's debut, Metal Ride, but I gather that this album is something of an extension of the sound they developed on that release. I find the results promising and hope that this band will continue to seek new directions in their work. I would particularly urge them to move the guitars even more to the center. At times, I felt like the rhythm section was way too strong, particularly when they establish the tempo of each song. The guitars do offer up some nice riffs, but I thought the solos were often too short and that they didn't always fit the music as well as they might. I'd go for some simpler solo patterns, perhaps ramped up with some pedal effects. These guys obviously know what they're doing; they just need to show us more of it.

I've noticed that some other reviewers around the interwebs haven't taken to this album too kindly. I think they are probably judging it too quickly. It deserves a good listen. The main problem, frankly, is that the album is simply too long, kind of like a terrific action sequence that doesn't know when to quit. Think, for example, of the action sequences found in Transformers or its sequels and you'll get my point. Sure, the set pieces, the violence, the excitement, are all ramped up and cool, but the net result is ultimately exhausting and bordering on the boring. I don't mean to sound too critical a note here; I genuinely liked what Mortor brings to this album, they just bring too much of it without alternating it with enough musical variation.

I would also suggest that the lyrics don't give listeners much to go on, other than a constant stream of violent imagery centered on gunplay. Just looking over the song titles reveals an unusual emphasis on guns and violence—"Eat Lead," "Shoot 'Em Up," "Trigger Happy," "Locked and Loaded," and so on. Let's be clear: the lyrics aren't promoting violence. Instead, these guys are offering listeners an opportunity to reflect on the violent obsessions that exist all across North America. Shootings in public places take place so often anymore that we are nearly forced to assume a kind of national madness. I can admire a sense of critique about all this, especially within heavy metal, a genre often focused on problems associated with violence.

Ultimately, this is a strong release, especially the first half-dozen songs. The other songs, all hewed from the same wood, are good, but make the album too long and too repetitive.

Track Listing:
1. Intro
2. Under the Flag
3. Eat Lead
4. Shoot 'Em Up
5. Clusterfuck
6. Trigger Happy
7. Locked and Loaded
8. Infidels
9. Whiskey Surgery
10. For Glory
11. Days of Our Knives
12. Point Blank
13. The Bonesaw
14. Let's Deflagrate

Added: December 13th 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1976
Language: english

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