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Mortiis: 5 Albums That Changed My Life

Duncan Bryceland

Mortiis first gained notice in the early ’90s playing bass for influential Black Metal act Emperor. After leaving the band in 1992, the Norwegian multi-instrumentalist started recording dark ambient music as a solo artist, gaining a cult audience throughout the world. Many have separated Mortiis’ musical output into different eras, since he’s taken his songwriting into various different stylistic territories.

Earlier this month, Ordo MCM — an Italian-based vinyl-only record label — released Mortiis’ classic “Era1″ records Ånden som Gjorde Opprør (1994) and Keiser Av En Dimensjon Ukjent (1995). The records were just released as exclusive limited vinyl additions, with 250 copies of each title on classic black vinyl and 250 on special swirl colored vinyl.

“Vinyl is what I grew up with,” Mortiis says. “It just seems more ‘real’ and tangible to me. It has more credibility somehow, like it’s a real album whereas when CDs came out, it just seemed like this dead, soulless container for music.”

To celebrate the reissues, Noisecreep asked Mortiis to take part in our ongoing ‘Five Albums That Changed My Life’ series.

The Fragile, Nine Inch Nails (1999)

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“I think Nine Inch Nail‘s best songs are actually spread across several albums, but this record is very important to me. The Fragile was just one of those albums that sonically mystified me to no end, everything from the sound design to the mix itself, not to mention the fact that it just feels important to me. It’s sort of like those concept albums Pink Floyd or The Who put out in the ’70s. I analyzed this record to death too, because it came out just as I was changing everything about what I wanted to achieve with my own music. To say that it was a massive influence to me would be an understatement.”

W.A.S.P., W.A.S.P. (1984)

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“I was 9-years-old when this album came out. I remember my parents gave my brother (who was 7) this on cassette for Christmas. Me? I got Huey Lewis and the News. That name still tastes vile in my mouth to this day. I’ll never forget it. My brother got possibly the coolest looking and sounding record by the greatest looking band ever — well, at least up that point. I thought W.A.S.P. blew KISS out of the water at that point. Before W.A.S.P., there was only KISS for me. I was obviously aware of other hard rock/metal bands, but they just paled in comparison to Paul Stanley and Co. When this album came out, it opened the door to the world of heavy metal for me. But the truth is, until this day, very few heavy metal albums can stand next to this one.”

Welcome to Hell, Venom (1981)

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“I was a pretty well known W.A.S.P. fanatic in my hometown by 1985 or so, when someone decided to put me in my place. I had called W.A.S.P. the “heaviest band on earth,” when someone played me a scruffy BASF (or something similar) tape copy of some of the songs from Welcome to Hell. The truth is, it pissed me off to no end. I realized then that Venom was heavier than anything I’d ever heard. I pretended not to like or care about Venom for a while. I eventually relented when Thrash and Speed Metal took over the scene a couple of years later. Venom became a really important band in the early days of the Norwegian Black Metal scene. Whether or not Venom liked it or not, they were hugely influential on most of the early members of that Black Metal scene. Together with bands like Bathory, Sodom, and Hellhammer, Vemom were very important to Black Metal. I still think Welcome to Hell is their best record.”

The Cross of Changes, Enigma (1993)

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“This was another record I just analyzed to death. Programing wise, I was blown away by all the layers, different atmospheres and trickieries going on, not to mention the amazing songs. At the time I wasn’t aware of the fact that a lot of the layers of music and rhythms were actually looped up samples of actual instruments. I tried emulating this effect through MIDI, which obviously didn’t sound anywhere near as good as the album. This was a huge record for me and Enigma’s finest work.”

Hellbilly Deluxe, Rob Zombie (1998)

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“It`s the combination of Charlie Clouser (engineer) and Rob Zombie that really does it for me here. In actuality, I almost prefer the remix album of this record (American Made Music to Strip By) to the original version, but Hellbilly Deluxe is somewhat more consistent so I guess it wins. Amazing record, it must have blown many minds when it came out. With the exception of White Zombie’s last album (1995′s Astro-Creep: 2000). Again, I analyzed Charlie’s work to death here trying to figure out how they made this sound so great. I’m still not sure if I’ve figured it out yet.”

Listen to ” En Mørk Horisont” from Mortiis

Pick up the limited edition vinyl reissues at this link. Get them while supplies last!

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