Lost in the icy wilderness of this world are barren husks of men and women who attempt to escape the modern day world’s paralyzing dysphoria. Not much is different with black metal mastermind Shatraug – one man band of entities Sargeist, Horna and others. Refuge from canopies of red-light districts and predatory after-hours bars full of merciless hunters of the human heart, the icy north is humanity’s last frontier for sanctum from the desolate soulless depths of modern civilization. Enter Shatraug’s latest project Mortualia, and that assumption becomes quite evident on Wild, Wild Misery.
Mortualia offers a dearth of brilliant melodic, depressive black metal tracks that communicate escapism better than most DSBM bands these days. Shatraug is a brilliant guitarist. He never runs out of ideas and his instrument speaks of his soul’s transfixed wounds. Melancholy speaks clearly in his tremolo-picked minor chord progressions.
Even at faster tempos, Shatraug plays wistful guitar melancholia and disconsolation effectively. With affection for all things desolate and dystopic, Mortualia’s Wild, Wild Misery, is the album to beat in DSBM this year. So, if you like this little sub-genre and mourn Shining’s direction into more progressive realms, you will love Mortualia’s back-to-the-basics approach.
The album cover is telling, if not typical, but Shatraug knows just what his audience likes — his splintered and restless soul covered in permafrost and ice. The tremolo riffs are icy and razor like. Satanism is not the de facto standard of ideology here. This album communicates a disdain for modern civilization the way fringe dwellers know best; through art and music and the very real dissociation that one feels when entering the icy wilderness to get away from it all.
So, if you’re looking to make a foray into the wilderness soon, let this album be your background noise. The climate is changing, winters are getting colder, and summers are getting hotter. Take winter’s turn after the fall and take Wild,Wild Misery with you for a journey into harsh, lost realms. When the barren trees meet the snowy breeze and music fitting for the scene is the prerogative, take DSBM’s best output for 2016 in Mortualia’s Wild, Wild Misery and experience supreme catharsis.
– Al Necro