Mortichnia - Heir to Scoria and AshWith a name as depressing and hopeless as Mortichnia, it shouldn’t be surprising that this five-piece Irish outfit creates dark, brooding, blackened doom meant to squash all happiness from your life. Debut album Heir to Scoria and Ash personifies this despair perfectly and foreshadows the destructive conclusion of the world as we know it. Heir to Scoria and Ash may have me completely engulfed in its depressive soundscapes, but the atmospheric, post-black, tunnel-shrieking dreariness it shares with the likes of Ethereal Shroud, and the progressive subtleties and tremolo-induced aggression of acts like Altar of Plagues, Mastodon, The Ocean, and Mgla, make Mortichnia‘s debut an intoxicating and memorable brew.

This mysterious band (perhaps the most mysterious group I have yet to research) is all about the atmospheres that inhabit their songs—incorporating some standout riffs and offering faint hints of the freedom at the tunnel’s end (without ever actually achieving it). The vocals of T.D. are typical, agonizing screams that reverberate down the long chasm created from the recording. These tunnel walls gleam with black, dragging you deeper into the suffocating darkness manifested by Mortichnia‘s doomy, droning heaviness.

Opener “Searing Impulse” burns fast and hot from the first match strike; however, the song never loses its composure and the track’s purpose is made present in every drum bludgeoning, guitar pluck, and thunderous bass tremolo—propelling each blackened riff, chest-throbbing sustain, and blood-curdling scream to its max. Follow-up track, “Carrion Proclamation,” takes it one step further; opening with a soothing intro that leads to a build that carries on for nearly fourteen minutes. Using Pelican-like approaches (but much heavier in delivery), this song sets a pace somewhere between granny-gear and neutral; remaining ever-dependent on the slothish, high-torque builds, the track finally lets go and nose-dives into a snail-like pace about three-quarters of the way in. After descending into this pit of despair, the song climbs back out with the greatest finale of the album. “Carrion Proclamation” may sound like a hell of a rollercoaster ride, but this song is one smooth dealer.

Mortichnia - 2016

After a fitting, yet unnecessary, intermission, the back-half of this five-track expedition into oblivion picks up where “Carrion Proclamation” left off. As “The Waning” extinguishes itself after a mere two-minute runtime, “A Furious Withering” dives straight into a mid-career Mastodonian effort that leaves you numb and half-wishing for it to continue and stop at the same time. This song produces such high levels of hate, pain, and sadness that I feel both calmed and overwhelmed by the mindfuckery. Closer “Heir” channels all the emotions of Heir to Scoria and Ash into a concise, efficient, and focused expression of everything this debut has to offer. Wrapping up this soundtrack of stimulation and depression, “Heir” points all the elements of the album towards a climatic end—passing through a calming intro (much like the one found on “Carrion Proclamation”) into intense black-metal energies that transition neatly into some massive death-metal arrangements to finish of the album.

As should be expected from a band that consists of five members who go by two-letter initials, this Dublin-based group keeps the songwriting captivating, simple, and thick. Having been recorded and mixed back in December 2014 (these duties falling to Altar of Plague‘s James Kelly), Heir to Scoria and Ash has finally seen the light of day. Its compression may be typical, but the album is chock-full of passion, power, and a enough variety to make it a well-rounded journey. Mortichnia may not jump out at you or be exciting enough to stick in your head, but they are definitely an exciting one to keep an eye on.

Postscript: In recognition of National Unicorn Day (yes, that’s a thing now), we proudly present you with this gift of art to brighten your outlook.

Unicorn Destroyer

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Apocalyptic Witchcraft

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  • The Calgary Nerd

    Now that’s a unicorn!

    • This might be slightly off topic, but why the hell uni-corn? Corn is the stuff whiskey is made of, and the closest semblance to some kind of horn associated with “corn” is clavus(!)
      Someone call Oxford English Dictionary, and tell ’em to alter unicorn to unihorn straight away!

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        “Unicorn” is the slang word for the formal “unicorny.” So it works.

        • An so it all makes sense, in some eclectic kind of way.
          To be a little bit more on topic, I’m not even half way through the embedded album, but I’ve gotten thus far because this appeals to me. 3.5 seems about right. No ace classic, but a way more than descent soundtrack to the misery of the moment. I like it.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            I agree. It has potential for being a higher score but, in the end, it is just a really good album and not a mind-blowing one.

          • The Calgary Nerd

            Agreed about the album. It’s so close to being a great album but it’s missing something.

        • sir_c

          Unicorn is a misspelling and a contraction of ‘uniform horse’.

          Unicorns are derived from police horses, a species where the dick is located on top of the animal.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Interesting… Sounds crazy but I believe you!

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Whiskey is made of barley. Bourbon is made of corn. The “corn” in unicorn comes from “cornis” which is Latin for horn. I might be a purist, I might be a prick… Most likely I’m a purist prick.

        • SegaGenitals

          Prickus maximus….

        • AlphaBetaFoxface

          It’s unfortunate when you are so informed on mystical creatures that your objective to assist someone turns into self-deprecation.

          We appreciate your effort, Juan.

        • A translation error at best. The Norwegian word for cereal/grain is Korn. Also, Americans consider corn to be maize, yet in the English language, corn can be defined as “Any of numerous cultivated forms of a widely grown, usually tall annual cereal grass (Zea mays) bearing grains or kernels on large ears.”
          Still, without lingual purists, language would soon be reduced to “supp, m8? Wattsju doen?”, and with a few guardians of the language around, it keeps everyone else on they’re toes, and I support that.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            The same I said to Arikael applies here… ;)

        • Arikael

          Whisky is made from barley, Whiskey may be made from barley, but it also may be made from corn, because Whiskey is also a synonym for Bourbon.
          The more you know… ;)

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            I thought I was splitting hairs until you came and split the half hairs I had split before… ;)

          • Arikael

            I was bored ;)

        • [not a Dr]

          I was trying to explain to one of my colleagues that the term latinoamerican is incorrect, since we don’t speak latin. You just ruined my efforts.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            That’s odd… Usually I only ruin my own efforts.

            Let me try and help you out: the term Latinoamerican should be applied to Countries/cultures that were former colonies of either Spain or Portugal. That means Brazil and all the Spanish speaking countries. Both languages, Portuguese and Spanish (which is called Spanish everywhere but in Spain where it’s called Castillian for politcal reasons better left unexplained for the sake of brevity) are descended from Latin, therefore, Latinoamerican means cultures/countries in America (the continent, not the country) which speak languages derived from Latin.
            If you want to get more specific, you can talk about Hispanics or Hispanoamericans, which refers solely to Spanish speaking countries/cultures.

            As for the unicorn vs monoceros debate, I don’t have time to spend discussing imaginary creatures, I have to go read some books on Theology ;)

          • [not a Dr]

            In Peru, in the early 80s, everyone I knew spoke Castellano. (we have a verse in our national anthem suggesting that our anger can still be heard from there to Iberia, so that may have been the political reason there).
            French being a Latin language, shouldn’t Québec and French Guiana and any of the French-speaking islands in the Caribbeans be considered part of Latinoamerica?

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            That’s right, Castellano is the language from Castilla. Gallego is from Galicia, Catalan is from Cataluña, Vasco is fron Euskadi and all of that is within Spain, therefore in Spain the Spanish Language is called Castellano because calling it Spanish would be discriminating against the other languages.
            As for the French speakers being Latinoamericans because French comes from Latin… I had not thought of that but it completely makes sense.

      • kaeru92

        Corne means horn in French, so I’m guessing it has a latin origin, and uni-corn, means single corn i.e., single horn !

      • [not a Dr]

        That’s what the germans did with the einhorn. The dutch, who can never get enough vowels, call it an eenhoorn.

  • Kronos

    Great album name. I hope this compels James Kelley to make metal again.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Hope so…

      • Blueberry Balls

        AMU cannot. Be. STOPPED.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          The fuck??

    • Thatguy

      Much as I loved Altar of Plagues, and was indifferent to Wife, I wouldn’t want him to just re-hash what AoP achieved. I think the man needs a collaborator or two to open up his talent further.

      • Kronos

        Certainly, but from what I understand, he was behind a lot of what made TG&I so incredible. I really hope the band decides to write again.

        • Kronos and I are actually co-founders and co-presidents of the “Plagues for Life” foundation – an organization dedicated to bringing back James Kelley’s brand of quixotic black metal.

          • ghostcorefanatic

            Well, then count me in if it’s James “Kelly” that you’re talking about.

      • James Ingold

        I wasn’t super hot on his actual album but Wife’s Stoic EP was wonderful and something that really stood apart in electronic music. That said, I’d be over the moon if he kept going on both Wife and resurrected Altar of Plagues.

  • Enjoying this on YT right now. Pre-ordered. I might be inducing poorly and this isn’t necessarily a complaint, but are there a lot of Deathspell Omega-inspired acts putting out stuff right now? Imperial Triumphant, Zhrine, these guys… (Where the fuck is DO, anyway? Been ages since Drought.)

  • Martin Knap

    Gratuitous unicorn bombing? I thought only bands who don’t show their faces get that…

    • This is true, but it was National Unicorn Day, so….

    • [not a Dr]

      He’s a loose canon.

      • Blueberry Balls

        BOOM!!!! :)

  • sir_c

    I am done with those meager unicorns. I want to see them more proggier, curvy maybe.

  • Blueberry Balls

    I fixed that for you. Skal.

    • [not a Dr]

      You just unicorned the unicorn… That’s like breaking 16 walls!

    • This could have created a uni-singularity! That’s just not responsible behavior.

  • jerseydevil

    Unholy shit! I just listened to this record 3 times in a row. Blazing stuff. Reminds me a bit or Altar of Plagues, but more savage.

  • BenSears01730

    not sure what all the talk of unicorns and whiskey is about, but this is an incredible album.

    “heir to scoria and ash” provides a window into blackened madness…their sound is haunting, with a true feeling of doom that simply can’t be faked. black metal is my favorite genre, and this is my favorite album of 2016.

    thank you, mortichnia!