Death Metal Underground

Mortuary Drape – All The Witches Dance

by Mike Alexander
January 10, 2014 –

mortuary_drape-all_the_witches_dance

Mortuary Drape resembles Emperor in its focus on the more bombastic elements of black metal. Mortuary Drape takes a more heavy metal flavored take on the genre, similar to Root or Master’s Hammer.

The speed metal influenced riffing which dominates most of this album lends further credence to that comparison. The mix is unusual for the time as well, in that it de­emphasizes the guitars in favor of the bass and vocals. Guitars are still present, but thinner than one would expect from speed metal and not trebly enough to make one think of black metal.

Church bells, a pipe organ, female vocals, and other unconventional elements are implemented, but not for the sake of these things; Mortuary Drape attempt to weave these elements into their music honestly. For the most part it works, though sometimes there are confused sections which are blatant (building/releasing tension at awkward times, staying on a particular riff a bit too long, the intro “My Soul” which goes on for a minute or so more than it should)….then again this album derives some of its charm for those very reasons.

An interesting influence appears to be movies such as Susperia when listening to the orchestral intros and interludes. This contrasts well with the theatrical atmosphere of the songs, giving the feeling of a sort of morbid operetta. Though not as essential as the Norwegian classics, this is still a strong, if not somewhat peculiar, album that while sometimes shaky is a good choice for those interested in the different angles of second wave black metal.

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4 comments

  • Madhu

    Good to see this album getting some positive attention here. Their second full-length, Secret Sudaria, is also good. Their third full-length, Tolling 13 Knell, is a masterpiece.

    1. Anthony

      Have the agree with this. Tolling 13 Knell is their peak, one hell of an album. The Into the Drape EP is quite cool as well, sort of like an alternate history version of black metal where it jumped right from Mercyful Fate to the ’90s style, skipping the other Scandinavian stuff.

  • SERIOUS QUESTIONER

    Mr: Alexander:

    You seem to review bands that didn’t make the cut to the Dark Legions Archive, which is interesting to me. What is your take on early black metal bands like Bestial Summoning (1992), Mystifier (1993), Desaster (Germany, 1993), Root (1991) and Master’s Hammer (1991) ?

    1. Mike Alexander

      Well, I’d say most of what I review is also liked by most of the staff at the DLA – the staff’s tastes expand beyond what is merely reviewed in the DLA!

      To answer your questions (and assuming the years you listed are albums of choice), I enjoy Bestial Summoning in doses. The vocals and general performance are pretty wild, but after 3-4 songs I usually want something with more structure since their album is pretty much just pure energy. I’ve never heard Desaster. Mystifier is good, with ‘Wicca’ being their peak. Their compositions can drag, or lose direction, but it’s honest enough material that I enjoy them. Root is pretty awesome, especially on the debut. Big Boss takes a bit of getting used to but he really has a style all his own. Sometimes Root is awkward in the same ways that Mortuary Drape is; clumsy but charming in its adventurousness. Master’s Hammer is solid, ‘Ritual’ is a good B+ album (probably more like an A within today’s black metal scene, comparatively). The vocals are a bit annoying to me but the compositional quality is high enough that I can look past them.

      Cheers.