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The 3rd And The Mortal - Sorrow CD (album) cover


The 3rd And The Mortal

Experimental/Post Metal

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2 stars The 3rd & the Mortal’s first offering is a curious study in metaphors of despair mixed with half-hearted optimism, and gothic metal music spattered like a blood pattern with hauntingly seductive vocals. It’s just one more example of what happens when one ignores vitamin B and iron in their diet, and sets the tone for pretty much everything that is to follow from this band.

Fortunately I don’t actually own any of this band’s albums; otherwise, I might be depressed like they all seem to be, although in my case it would be from the loss of my hard-earned money. I have a friend who owns pretty much everything these guys have put out, and he’s a great source of the occasional sampling which in this case means I saved myself the grief of being disappointed before buying these instead of after.

But I worry about him since he seems to spend an awful lot of time listening to these guys, and that can’t be good for one’s psych. I’ve rambled on in the past on theories about vitamin and sunlight deficiency and its negative impact on the attitudes and music of people who come from northern climates, and this is yet another example. I will say that this seems to be the least despairing of this band’s albums, for whatever that’s worth. Maybe they recorded it during the summer.

Musically this entire EP, and probably the band’s whole catalog, would make for some great all-instrumental mood music or maybe the soundtrack to one of those slightly- gothic M. Night Shyamalan films. And the female vocals on all their albums are exquisite, whether delivered by Kari Rueslåtten, Ann-Marie Edvardsen, or even the later Kirsti Huke. But the lyrics betray the notion that this is either fatalistic goth-metal like Entwine, or emotional but ultimately positive music like Nightwish. Instead it’s both, and neither, and that’s really the problem.

The opening “Grevinnens Bønn” (“Plea of the Countess”) is a perfect example. Musically this is borderline metal (there’s some pretty cool heavy shredding from time-to-time, so that qualifies, I suppose). And I love the vocals, although Rueslåtten’s tendency to trill her R’s can be a bit distracting to western ears that aren’t accustomed to that phoneme. But the real point here is that the lyrics are neither completely despairing, nor do they offer any hope to speak of. They kind of sit on the emotional fence, so to speak, and I find that annoying.

The title track is a bit more decisive, as this is basically the tale of lost love:

“Cry out thy Sorrow, and seek to heal; cry out thy Sorrow, and try to forgive (forget).”

Okay, easy to sink your teeth into that. Acoustic guitar and no trilling either, which makes this probably the most appealing of the four tracks here.

“Ring of Fire” starts off almost like the Cranberries “Zombie”, which by the way is a good thing. Tight guitars, string synths, heavy bass – a nice combination if you want to pass yourself off as a goth-metal band. But here again the mixed metaphors are confusing:

“Searching for something to satisfy my soul, is Darkness what I find in the whole; lust and hate cover my fate across the Sea of Tranquility. The dream fulfills my needs.”;


“Draw a ring of fire; be careful as you step across the line. Make sure you leave your soul behind.”

So I don’t know what they heck these guys are trying to say, but like a lot of later Mortal music I suspect they are simply taking some slightly-mad rambling poems written over the cold winter by one or more of their members, and splicing them up to fit the music’s arrangements. Or maybe the other way around.

The final “Silently I Surrender” is more of the same, so there’s no point belaboring this. I will say that the extended instrumental passages in this last track further convince me that these guys would be better of either without vocals, or at least by adding several all-instrumental tracks to their albums in the future. And look up that Shymalan dude guys – I really do think he could find work for you.

So this isn’t the most depressing and completely lacking in redeeming value album from these guys – I think their latest ‘Project Bluebook’ wins that award. But I still can’t bring myself to call it “good” either, although of everything I’ve heard from them this EP comes the closest. So it’s 2.4 stars, and I’ve already taken this back to my friend’s apartment so I doubt it will ever grace my CD player again.


Report this review (#115500)
Posted Sunday, March 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The debut recording from this band. It detonated like a bomb on the scene when it was released. Oh, those memories. I was there. This EP made me feel alive and in the middle of something very special. I went to their gig with Carpathian Full Moon and I witnessed this band live. I spoke to Kari Rueslåtten. I was there. I was a fan. I was doing reviews for some magazines.

........maybe I am still a fan. Or maybe not. A lot of things has happend since the release of this EP. The band went off into the big wide universe like a rocket, imploded and then fell back to earth. Tragic. Stupid.

The EP starts with the good prog-doom track Grevinnens Bønn, which is a good track. The best track on this EP in fact. It builds up with guitars, Kari takes over and then the guitars goes into a crescendo. I have missed this track during the ten years long break from this EP. Sorrow is next track out and it is an overkill by Kari again. In retrospective, Kari's voice was far too powerful on both this EP and the Tears Laid In Earth album. The band became kind of Kari Rueslaatten & The Third And The Mortal during the two records with Kari. Anyway; the track Sorrow is Kari's vocals with an accoustic guitar. Nothing else. Good song, but I feel Kari kind of overpronounce the words on this song. Ring Of Fire is very good and Kari Rueslaatten & The Third And The Mortal finally gets the balance between vocals and the other instruments right. Silently I Surrender is not their greatest moment. It is a kind of attempt of doing a complex song. The intro is good with tonnes of heavy guitars, the balance between vocals and instruments is about right, but the song is running out of steam half way through and looses the plot halfway through when Kari takes over. No criticism of her, but the song let's her down here. Some good vocal harmonies though and a good piece of guitar before the accoustic guitar part kick the song into the long grass.

I still think this is a good EP. I cannot give it 4 stars, but it deserves 3 stars.

Report this review (#187514)
Posted Friday, October 31, 2008 | Review Permalink

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