Song of the Day: Mortal - Cryptic

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I’m sure a few of you have been wondering when I was going to eventually get around to covering this important band. Well, wait no longer.

Mortal’s roots were in a similarly-named synth-pop project called Mortal Wish. While that version of the band showed promise, it only hinted at the greatness that was to come after a minor name change and a huge change in direction. (FYI: downloads of 2 different Mortal Wish demos are available online if you know where to look for them!)

The mysteriously-titled (Lusis means “freedom”), dark and brooding debut hit stores in 1992 via Intense Records, the first in the industrial genre for the otherwise exclusively metal label. Lusis featured intelligent lyrics and a sound that would have been at home on Wax-Trax or Metropolis Records, yet didn’t really sound like anyone else.

Whereas other Christian industrial bands often wore their influences on their sleeves (Front 242 and Nine Inch Nails being the most often cited), Mortal paved a path on their own, integrating danceable beats with metallic riffs. Yes, lots of other bands did industrial metal, but not in the way that Mortal did. And since Lusis dropped in ’92, they were a pioneer in the hybrid genre. Having experienced producer Terry Taylor at the helm certainly didn’t hurt.

“Cryptic” is a great example of the way the band used lyrics. The title of the song is both ironic (the chorus isn’t cryptic at all), and also literal–are those sci-fi references or (more likely) something in the here and now? Perhaps a reference to a catastrophic event? Mortal loved keeping things mysterious, even as they testified boldly of their faith:

People aching desperate streets walking no ghosts here reality
Concrete raining merciless bitter

Taste feel the chill agony fire no attempt scratch the earth above
The earth life struggle across the tower

Outside the structure grotesque no crime no vindication doomed to
Fate under thunder skies open you wait for

P e a c e
H o p e
L o v e
J e s u s c h r i s t

Chosen futile no response from the masses enigma faceless
Thousand destiny twisted speeding the process

P e a c e
H o p e
L o v e
J e s u s c h r i s t

Prisoners of a genetic disorder eyes so bright in the shadows
Fearing tomorrow when sunlight can kill but they have love

Millions of people walk the cracks in the streets where we live why
Can’t we give something they’re dying for?

P e a c e
H o p e
L o v e
J e s u s c h r i s t

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