MRTVI – Omniscient Hallucinatory Delusion Review

I know that a lot of people look up to us as some sort of paragons of metaldom,1 and that we can speak with full confidence on what is good, what is bad and what is a 2.5 and will be ignored forever. And that’s not entirely wrong. But really, we’re just a bunch of people who like to put our opinions into words and let the whole world comment on it. We’re unsure and insecure as often as the rest of you, and we doubt our writing, our clout and the depth of our experience as much as the next guy. For most promos, we have enough frames of reference to make sense of whatever comes on our paths and put it all into some sort of context. MRTVI, on the other hand, is the sort of promo where that frame of mine falls to pieces before my eyes and all that’s left to me is a heartfelt: what?

MRTVI is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Damjan Stefanović and it is deeply strange. Riffs twist and writhe in eldritch angles, atonal notes forming unnatural patterns in unexpected rhythms. Some of the jazz-based free form black metal of Imperial Triumphant and the jagged chaos of Deathspell Omega can be detected in the fingerprints of MRTVI, but the skeleton underneath the misfit skinbag has a different kind of structure. There’s traces of noise and mathcore in the dissonant warble and the turn-on-a-dime riffs, while the impressively savage howling is lifted right out of the more DS corners of BM. Choruses and verses are not really a thing on this album, though repetition is used as a tool, particularly in aptly titled opener “Living in Repetition.”

The barbed hurricane regularly makes way for a host of other brands of crazy. For instance, a more accurate title for “Invisible Scars” would be “4 Minutes of Creepy Noises” and “Cycles of Suffering” has an extensive intro with high-speed drumming and low-speed dissonant plucking. The weirdest part comes at the end, however. “Perceived Entirety” consists almost entirely of ritualistic drumming, odd atonal strumming and shamanistic chanting until the final stretch unleashes a furious stream of tremolo riffing. Then the ritual picks back up with the closer, “Obscured Reality,” where those riffs return in increasingly warped and distorted echoes until it fizzles out into a puddle of backwards electronic reverbing blips and whoops. I would have preferred something more climactic, but then again, Damjan is clearly not someone to conform to expectations.

Where the expectations do not disappoint, however, is in the execution. Damjan clearly knows his stuff. His instrumental skills have no problem executing his own complex compositions. His drumming is precise through a myriad of time changes, his guitarwork remains focused through all its whirling misdirection and screeching dissonance. His basswork is perhaps the least immediately impressive, but considering all the elements at play, that is easily forgiven. To top it off, the production is surprisingly excellent. With so many layers of madness, being able to actually tell them all apart is a definite plus.

Omniscient Hallucinatory Delusion is a package that baffles me with every spin and eludes my ability to even form an opinion. This reaction seems not to be uncommon, considering Dr. Wvrm had a similar response to the previous installment of MRTVI’s insanity. Ultimately, I’m gonna give the latest chapter the edge because of its excellence in execution. It’s less that I actively enjoy listening to it, because mostly it weirds me out to a point that I don’t really know what to do with it, and more that I appreciate the craft behind it. If you like black metal that just goes way, way off the reservation, definitely give MRTVI a whirl. At the very least, it’s not gonna bore you.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Transcending Obscurity
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: November 6th, 2020

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  1. Speak for yourself. – Holdeneye
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