Old pointy nose is back! Mortiis and friends return after a 5 year hiatus and he has even released a statement that the goblin mask is coming out of mothballs. Good because this glorious electro industrial pop metal record deserves a heavy dose of prosthetics to propel us mere mortals into his bizarre Tolkien meets Cyber Punk world.
The Great Deceiver marks the beginning of Era 0 – Mortiis likes to break up his releases into periods. This allows him as aural auteur to change his direction whilst keeping his musical past intact and confusing the haters.
The Great Deceiver is a collection of pulsating electro metal with big choruses and great danceable beats. This is Manson, Numan, Zombie and Reznor in a blender and served in Slimelight to people in New Rocks. I love it!
But why do I love it so? Well Havard Ellefsen (as his mum calls him) has filled this album with great songs. I know that may sound a little simplistic but in a time of people piling riff upon riff and shoe horning time changes and jazz passages into tracks to appear edgy and hip it is great to hear good songs. There is nothing ground-breaking here and The Great Deceiver lives up to its name by treading paths well worn down by the black leather soles of many (small g) gothic metal and industrial acts . Let’s not forget that Mortiis was part of this whole scene within a scene years ago when the “Smell of Rain” introduced electro pop to a public still thinking of him as “that bloke from Emperor”.
“The Great Leap” is Pretty Hate Machine era NIN , you just need to pick it up drop it in a late 90’s sci-fi flick like Strange Days and add plenty of strobes and good looking folk in leather and it would be perfect – nostalgic but perfect. “The Ugly Truth” opens with a classic 80’s electronic drum sound before a venomous Mortiis tears into the male ego and the need to dominate and force oneself upon a subservient audience or partner. All backed by driving riffs that sound like Dr Jeep on speed!
The slower tracks on the album are just as effective as the pulsating techno rockers. “Sins of Mine” smoulders and “Hard To Believe” uses an acoustic riff as effectively as Space Lord by Monster Magnet did all those years ago. There are similarities with Manson’s vocal stylings on some of the tracks but it works and is more reminiscent of “Mechanical Animals” era than the latter works of Brian.
“The Shining Lamp of God” is the first single off the collection and was most folks introduction to this new incarnation of Mortiis. A classic alternative club floor filler, it builds steadily to a big chorus with plenty of opportunity for arms and legs flailing around the dancefloor. It harks back to the days of Nitzer Ebb and Front 242 at your local snakebite and black pit. For my money the follow up single should be “Demons Are Back”. Deliciously dark with a filthy groove , this is vampire stripper music shot through with accents of Ministry.
“Too Little Too Late” ends the album in storming style and the title couldn’t be further from the truth. It reminds me of the first time I bought Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s album and heard those buzzsaw guitars over the top of synths for the first time. This is an album that needs to be played loud. In a dark room. With a smoke machine. And strobe lights.
With “The Great Deceiver” Mortiis has not reinvented the wheel. What he and his band have done is crammed big beats, big riffs and big choruses into a twisted mannequin, dressed it in leather and rubber, added a fluorescent hair fall then flicked the on switch. The ensuing mass of electrified cyber goth metal will cause the most repressed wallflower to shake their crimped tail-feather. Familiar enough to prick your ears but original enough to keep you coming back for more.
(8.5/10 Matt Mason)