Formed in Lucerne, Switzerland, back in 2003, Mortal Factor have finally decided to release their first full length album after establishing themselves as a solid live act in the continent, having shared the stage with the likes of Aborted, Entombed and Tankard. With the title “No Lessons Need Learning”, it is clear that this is a band who know exactly what they want to sound like and what they are doing. Let’s see if they actually do need a lesson or not.
“Body In My Bed” opens the album with some serious feedback before it erupts into a full on thrash paced assault. Full of attitude and groove, it hits you in the face from the get go and it’s hard to believe that this wall of noise is coming from a three-piece. Harsh vocals, thick sounding guitars and piercing leads over a tight rhythm come together well and show just what this band is about – precisely delivered metal. “Moving Among You” starts off slightly slower and more dramatic with some slightly droning chords and haunting lead fills. Intimidating whispered vocals give way to a hard groove and some very Sepultura-esque vocals. The simple approach to the rhythm works wonders too, it’s not overly complicated, but at the same time it’s not too simple. It’s just the right balance and has the right feel to keep the song moving. The guitar solo midway through the song fits well and helps up the intensity a little without any major need for flair-filled playing too. It’s just straight to the point riffing and groove, perfect for headbanging along to.
“Mortal Factor” keeps up the heavy groove style, but this time with an approach similar to that of Prong. The well measured punchy riffs help fill the space, and the impeccable timekeeping of the rhythm portion of the band keep it all locked in place. Continually teasing through the song with the hope of it picking up speed, small rapid riffs help break up the steady groove just enough to allow the full force of the main riff to hit when it comes back and the track forgoes any lead-work too. Showing why sometimes, it’s better to just let the riffs dictate the song. “Do Not Be Afraid” opens with a haunting clean section which is accompanied by a distorted lead. Its simplistic structure with some background samples helps build up anticipation which is shattered when the rest of the band kicks in. With a ferocious sounding series of stomp worthy riffs, the song gets up to speed and remind everyone that Mortal Factor play thrash and play it well. The lead section halfway through the song twists into a huge breakdown moment round the 3:30 mark really shines out before it kicks back to the stomp worthy riffs to close the track.
“Knives vs Guns” keeps the stomp feel going. Its pounding groove quickly shifts to a bass-driven section which has a great tone to it and you can tell this is one track where the rhythm section is really going to shine. The clearness of the bass is fantastic and it really keeps everything locked together and stands out brilliantly against the guitar work. This is another track which would go down great in a live setting. “Gotta Get Out” has that Prong vibe to it once more as its punchy riffs and heavy bass starts the song. The vocals are as harsh as ever and venomously delivered over the tension building guitar parts and the drumming makes the song seem faster than it actually is. The lead work is simple when it shows up, but effective as it ups the urgency of the track where needed but still allows the ferocious groove to carry on. “Crank It” starts off with some punchy work from the band before a huge groove driven riff kicks in. The drumming is top work with some shades of Sepultura in it and when the verse kicks in, the groove which gets you at the start just tightens up and refuses to let go. The main riff section has everything – pounding drums, thundering bass and a twisting, heavy hitting riff which just drives everything. This song is one which demands cranking the volume up and serious headbanging to follow. It doesn’t let up at all and to be honest, with a groove like this, would you want it to?
“Whiskey Stream” has another big groove feel to it with some more stunning rhythm section work. With a sleazy sounding, laid back approach, this track just screams Pantera (Think Psycho Holiday) and despite all the big thrash moments earlier in the album, this is a fantastic change of pace. It’s just laid back groove in its purest form. “Symbols” has the more metal edge to it as the harmonic laced intro gives way to a pounding riff which takes no shit. It storms along with the attitude from earlier in the album but without the speed, showing the true talents of this band when it comes no nonsense metal. With its punchy feel, thundering bass and tight drums, this song is a great way to start wrapping the album up, and the breakdown round the 2:30 point is one hell of a way to up the intensity before returning to the main riff, showing you don’t need to speed up to deliver when needed. “Final Call” Closes the album and much like the previous tracks, its more groove than thrash orientated, which (despite my love of thrash metal) is preferred in this bands case. They clearly excel with the groove metal approach and much like the rest of the album, this is solid, precise riffing and big noise works well and much like the opening track, it shows what the band is capable of and closes the album well.
“Simple music for simple people, by simple people” was how Mortal Factor described themselves in the presser which came with this album, and I find it hard to disagree with them. This straight forward, no bullshit approach the Swiss three-piece use works brilliantly and it proves the old saying “Sometimes, Less is More”. No lessons were needed on this album. It is just pure groove worship with a metal edge.