The legendary Italian powerhouse Mortuary Drape has returned with their sixth studio album, Black Mirror, which is set to drop on November 3. This exhilarating effort represents the band’s first full-length offering since 2014’s Spiritual Independence. Founded in 1986, Mortuary Drape is regarded as an extremely influential pioneering act. The group has certainly achieved cult status. Even given Mortuary Drape’s history, Black Mirror doesn’t disappoint.
Although the artists behind Mortuary Drape define themselves as practitioners of “Occult Black Metal,” that term hardly begins to describe Black Mirror and the outfit’s catalogue as a whole. In the spirit of rebellion, Mortuary Drape and Black Mirror are thoroughly atypical down to the core. The eccentric Black Mirror has its roots in nostalgic heavy metal, and thus has a vintage charm. Yet, Black Mirror also feels like a clandestine, blasphemous ritual in a damp dungeon.
At its core, Black Mirror is a highly organic work. Effects are incorporated nicely and are not at all overused. The production captures all the dirtiness of the material and lends an intimate allure. Mortuary Drape spellbinds you with their dark art and appealing imagery. These sorcerers bring all of their charisma and character to Black Mirror.
The dazzling guitar solos throughout Black Mirror function as one of the album’s greatest assets. They often give listeners the feeling of gliding through the cosmos and add a gorgeous element of contrast. The team crafts catchy riffs, nice grooves, and pleasing melodies. Slower sections and parts with more speed engage in a pleasing dance. The menacing presence of unpredictability is another one of Black Mirror’s most lethal weapons. The compositions serve up delightful surprises, often veering in thrilling directions. Wildness Perversion — Mortuary Drape’s co-founder, only constant member, and frontman — continues to deliver fiery and gripping performances. His raw vocals make the more polished aspects of Black Mirror stand out all the more.
The opening, “Restless Death,” begins on a slow and ominous note with eerie keys and raspy whispered vocals. These eventually speed up and, all of a sudden, the song explodes with brilliant nostalgic metallic power. A variety of shifts occur within this colorful track. Next up, “The Secret Lost,” a cold and unusually entrancing number, seems to start the way the previous song ended with the exclamation “Die!” It is hard to pick album highlights because Black Mirror is so strong and cohesive. Nevertheless, it is clear why the particularly quirky little gem “Rattle Breath,” the sixth opus, was chosen as the album’s first single. This intriguing composition showcases entertaining clean vocals that will win over even the grumpiest of listeners. Yes, Black Mirror fills you with a sense of doom, but it is also quite playful at times.
The penultimate song, “Fading Flower Spell,” is an especially otherworldly pick that sounds exactly like its title suggests. Black Mirror’s finale, the title track, is a beautiful piece of ear candy with only a bit of vocals, which kick in around the five-minute mark.
Yes, from start to finish, Mortuary Drape preserves an element of magic all too effectively. For this reason, Black Mirror will grow on you each time you revisit it.
Mortuary Drape’s Black Mirror drops on November 3 via Peaceville Records. Pre-order Black Mirror here.
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