Just for the record, I like goblins. Whereas the orcs and stuff get all the bad guy praise, poor little goblins are like the weird kid everyone picks on in the school yard. So hurrah for goblinses!
Ahem. Sorry. Anyway we are in the presence of goblin royalty here. Not only is this Mortiis, but this is Mortiis in Era 1 mode, or Era 1.2 mode really. It took many years but not only has Håvard Ellefsen, aka Mortiis seemingly made peace with his past but with the wonderful book ‘Secrets Of My Kingdom’ (published with love by Cult Never Dies) and his current concerts, even embraced it. As he mentioned in the last interview Ave Noctum did with him here he has revisited his second album Ånden Som Gjorde Opprør and expanded on it not just re-recorded it and this is the result, complete with David Thieree art.
If you already have that album then is it worth investing in? Absolutely. Without altering the fluidity of the piece Mortiis has breathed new life into it. Having listened to them both back to back the sound is far richer and fuller obviously with both the more modern technology and the production, but thankfully without losing any of its essential charm. With an additional ten or fifteen minutes of music woven through they are different beasts for different moods. The one thing that has not changed though is the organic feel; the atmosphere and the sense you are hearing it being conjured up live.
Ok that’s for the fans who know the original. For the rest, this is music referred to as ‘dungeon synth’ these days, and from the originator. Entirely keyboard based this is dark and oddly bleak music. It conjures up a strange fantasy world of twisted creatures, flawed protagonists and moments of real melancholy. At a sombre pace it travels through the land with a grim determination, variations on a main theme branching off through sharp toothed thickets and along shrouded gullies. As with the original there is the real feel of a live performance; this is music played for you, drifting up from the blasted heath and through the gnarled forests on a cold grey wind. It never feels constructed block by block and the ‘play’ button simply pressed to release it. It rises up conjured by the flickering of fingers across keyboards and the dexterity off a mage summoning a demon.
Simply; it has life, soul and humanity. It performs. It twists and slithers and strides on command of will not a line of programming.
Spirit Of Rebellion has all the soul and spirit of the original, al the soul. Perhaps it has more colour too, perhaps that just depends on your mood. But it is exemplary. More though it is imagination given real life and breath. It is one return visit that was more than worth it.