Every now and then instead of featuring a new artist on Electro Pulse, I’m going to feature an older or defunct artist that newer fans might not be aware of.
When you say industrial most people’s mind goes directly to Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, or KMFDM. But what about Mortal? Started in 1988 by Jyro Xhan and Jerome Fontamillas (Currently plays keyboards for Switchfoot) the band has put out a discography that includes 6 full length albums, 1 live EP, and 1 “best of” album and has released material on Intense Records, 5Minute Walk, KMG, and Tooth & Nail. In addition to being busy with Mortal Jerome and Jyro were also busy creating music as Fold Zandura. Their debut Lusis on Intense in 1992 earned them the title Best New Band by CCM Magazine which called it the “strongest debut project to enter the Christian market in years.” The band became known for their upfront praise and worship style lyrics.
When I was about 15 someone gave me a copy of Mortal’s Fathom and I instantly fell in love (to date it’s still my favorite Mortal album) and began tracking down copies of all their other releases. In doing so I found a band that was incredibly diverse in their musical creativity, each album has a very distinct sound and sets itself apart from the others.
Rather than try to pick one to review I’m going to give you a little snippet of each. I have uploaded songs from most every release that you can listen to below.
We’ll start with Lusis from 1992, this is my second favorite Mortal album and it features a heavy electronic sound most closely compared to Nine Inch Nails’ debut Pretty Hate Machine.
Listen to “Enfleshed” off “Lusis” by Mortal
In 1993 the band released Fathom which is their heaviest release, the album brought a more metal feel to the table. Listen to Neplusultra from Fathom
Also in 1993 Mortal released a Live EP for Intense Records live series, it included 4 live originals and covers of Amy Grant’s Thy Word and U2′s One Tree Hill. Listen to Thy Word from Intense Live Vol 5.
1994 brought the release of Wake which featured a more grunge sound as well as a cover of The Beatles Nowhere Man. Listen to “Moons and Suns” from “Wake”
In 1995 Pura was released, it brought with it a much more ambient and relaxed sound than previous releases. Listen to “Liquid Gift” from “Pura”
In 1996 Mortal released their first album not on the Intense label, instead releasing through 5 Minute Walk. The self titled album brought back the heavy synths and guitar work and is probably the most accessible album.
Listen to “Mission” from “Pura”
After the self titled release Mortal went quiet with the exception of a “best of” release in 1998 titled Godspeed until 2002 when, after a 6 year hiatus the band released Nu-En-Jin on Tooth and Nail Records. This is the release that newer fans of electronica will find easiest to get into as it has a more modern sound to it. The album is intense and very sci-fi feeling. This album also features redone versions of Mytho X (guest vocals by Jon Foreman of Switchfoot) and The Word Is Alive from Mortal’s debut album Lusis.
Listen to “FMZ4″ from “Nu-En-Jin”
To my knowledge Mortal only ever released one music video for Rift off of Fathom. The video deals with the subject of child abuse and some may find it to be disturbing.