Mortalicum - Progress Of Doom

From the northern part of Sweden, Mortalicum was formed early 2006 by bassist Patrick Backlund. Starting out originally as a studio project, the band slowly took shape over the course of a couple of years with various line-up changes. Maybe the most important of these line-up changes was when Henrik Högl took over the lead vocal duties as well as the lead guitar role. The current line-up of Patrick Backlund (bass), Mikael Engström (guitar) and Andreas Häggström (drums) and Henrik Högl (vocals, lead guitar) is indeed a very professional unit. Mortalicum made the unusual decision of making their debut album a live recording, this to me shows the confidence the band already had even at this early stage in the band's existence. At the end of 2009 they started the recording of their debut album "Progress of Doom" and it was released on April 23 on the Metal On Metal label. The band doesn't fit into one particular genre of Heavy Metal, elements of Doom, Stoner, Classic Metal and 70's Hard Rock all interweaves within their songs but maybe they can be best compared with bands like Sesta Marconi, Spiritual Beggars, Grand Magus and other bands that mix the elements of Doom and Stoner with classic 70's hard rock sounds.

The album kicks off with "Guiding Star" and its obvious within the first minute, Mortalicum are big fans of 70's Hard Rock legends. Sounding very much in the vein of Deep Purple and Rainbow with the lead solo's and wide-reaching vocal melodies to match the rich, organic production. "Into The Night" is pure Swedish Stoner Rock, so much so the vocals sound very similar to the great vocals of Spiritual Beggars. A killer, chugging rhythm keeps driving the song along to neck-snapping levels and the solo is pure class as well. This is classic rock done by musicians who really know how to perfect jaw-dropping melodies and breath-taking solos that are enough to send a chill up the spine. "Progress Of Doom" is also rich in its 70's Hard Rock sensibilities, the infectious riff matched only by the deliciously well crafted vocals of Henrik Högl is as catchy as it is just a kick ass piece of old school metal. "A Darker Power" is a powerhouse mid-tempo doom rock track with a dark menacing riff line while "Power And Control" sets the speakers alight with pure energetic melodies and some thundering drum pattens in the finest tradition of drummers like Cozy Powell(R.I.P). This song has more blistering guitar lead work that scream and wail while remaining melodic. "The Voyager" is a masterpiece of a tune, its true if you grew up in the 70's or early 80's you would have this heard before but boys and girls, this is solid stuff right here.

"Revolution In Vain" has a great driving feel, chugging and twisting guitar lines and more of that 70's vocal gymnastics and "Darkness All Around" has a slower groove than the rest of the tunes but is one of the most infectious tunes on the disc. "Inner Peace" is more chunky 70's grooves interspersed with dramatic vocal melodies and the final cut is one of the real highlights of the "Progress Of Doom" album. Titled "Damnation Of The Soul", this 9 minute epic encompasses everything that made the 70's such a influential time in Hard Rock history with a emphasis on melody and dramatic song arrangement. Constantly climbing and building, the song is rich in  contemporary but timeless beauty. The song only gets even more atmospheric after the 6 minute mark of the track, the lead playing in those last few minutes are magical. After the 40 or so minutes of listening to "Progress Of Doom" you are left with a feeling you have just met up with a old friend. Something about this is so familiar and yet so fresh. This Swedish quartet have proven once again, the swedes have a quality of musicianship all of their own. It used to exist in large numbers in the UK and to a lesser degree here in the US but these days it seems the Swedes are the leaders in taking a well used formula and making it sound new again. If Spiritual Beggars, Grand Magus, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Thin Lizzy and Montrose can still raise those hairs on the back of your neck and send a shiver down the spine then Mortalicum should be the next band on your CD shopping list. This is quality Hard Rock that is more generic than the regular Stoner Rock or Doom Rock but so classy in its delivery that its a no-brainer. You must check out Mortalicum's Progress Of Doom.

1. Gliding Star
2. Into The Night
3. Progress Of Doom
4. A Darker Power
5. Power And Control
6. The Voyager
7. Revolution In Vain
8. Darkness All Around
9. Inner Peace
10. Damnation Of The Soul

Metal On Metal Records
Reviewer: Ed
Jun 3, 2010

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