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The 3rd and the Mortal: Sorrow

Sorrow marks the advent of The 3rd and the Mortal, one of the most groundbreaking yet criminally underappreciated bands from Norway. At only 20 minutes, this is their debut EP, which preceded their first full-length album, the seminal Tears Laid in Earth. Although not quite there yet, the four songs on this disc hint at the band's creativity that was to reach greater heights only a year later. Vocalist Kari Rueslatten's voice is utilized as merely another dimension to the music, as her vocals are buried far deep in the mix and she sings with a rather noticeable accent, perhaps intentionally, given her vocals truly stand out on the full-length. In the following years, Rueslatten would turn into a phenomenal singer (and you need to check out her solo work as well if you like to hear her in a more experimental or singer-songwriter capacity).

The first track "Grevinnens Bonn," sung entirely in Norwegian, sounds like a dirge-laden doom metal experiment where the band's primary focus is crafting heavy, sludge-infested riffs rather than sweet, easily noticeable melodic vocal fragments. Vocals are treated as an instrument that provides texture and harmony; the band's priority is to establish context for landscapes of atmosphere, rich panoramic melodies soaring above the arrangements, while still trying to find their true voice. The production is raw and crude, with sudden shifts in groove and tempo, but the honest, doom-laden quality of their songs stands the test of time. There is a great deal of sonic variety on this EP: the short acoustic piece "Sorrow" boasts sparsely placed vocal swells while the guitar shrill guitar tone of "Ring of Fire" does a better job expressing loss and despair than the hardly audible lyrics. The riffs are so amazing; perhaps Candlemass was the only other Scandinavian doom band that could play such heavy and melodic riffs at the time of this EP's release. "Silently I Surrender" is so raw it sounds like an unmixed demo and, perhaps because of this, finds the band building tension and giving the whole EP an sense of unsettling, edge-of-the-seat kind of vibe. They would only go on to perfect this formula: heavy, ocean-like guitar riffs develop into powerful themes looming over the mix, electric and acoustic guitars are harmonized, piling on top of each other (no horrible, plasticky synth tones here) and forming this thick cloud of palpable layers which are torn apart by stabbing melodies that peek through the mix. As always, vocals are so far behind the main instruments all you can hear is an arresting harmony weaving itself around the song.

Sorrow is an essential disc if you want to explore the beginnings of not only The 3rd and the Mortal but also the whole Scandinavian doom metal genre that resurrected in the early 90s. (Note that after the first two releases, the band evolved into a more experimental musical force with a different singer eventually releasing In This Room, another important piece of work).


  1. Grevinnens Bonn
  2. Sorrow
  3. Ring of Fire
  4. Silently I Surrender

Added: July 9th 2014
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Related Link: Band website
Hits: 1786
Language: english

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