Mortal Factor – Where To From Here? (Darkstorm Records)Wednesday, 13th September 2023
Swiss band Mortal Factor began in 2003, playing over 130 shows together since their inception. Over the years they’ve issued a demo, a split release with Brazilian thrash band Hicsos, plus a full-length in 2014 No Lessons Need Learning via Non Stop Music Records. Stepping back to the independent ranks for the 2018 EP Five CC of Pure… and 2021 follow-up Devil and His Dog, we’ve now arrived at the sophomore album for Where To From Here?, a ten-song platter that showcases the trio in a power groove, thrash-oriented platform where the organic purity shines through, keeping the material very lean to launch easily from these studio cuts onto the stage.
Simplification in terms of riffs, hooks, melodies, and tempos allows these songs to cement themselves quickly into your brain on initial exposure – guitarist René Meyer laying down a thick rhythm crunch while supplementing additional lead breaks or specific melodic accents to enhance the attack in a Teutonic thrash meets groove/hardcore crossover montage. These gentlemen won’t necessarily bowl you over in the speed department, instead preferring to inject their songs with a sense of bluesy, rock ‘n’ roll energy that coupled with the potent bass/drum mechanics keeps tracks like “Tryin” and “Found a Minute” sounding similar to 90’s-era Metallica next to latter day Kreator meets Pro-Pain. Hair windmill action is mandatory to specific riff/groove combinations, as “Broken” achieves due to its mid-tempo stomp nature that builds through the ferocious bark during the chorus from bassist Dave. There are some moments that could be a little trying on your patience, specifically the gang background/swing shuffle battle during “You Do” that’s a tad pedestrian/predictable to coax audience involvement, where you wish the band may have tried a little hard for something more original. Perfect in length at under forty minutes, this is a record that probably gains more appreciation the deeper into the night you listen (with a few alcoholic beverages flowing).
Twenty years together as a group, Mortal Factor isn’t going to reach top tier groove metal/thrash status through Where To From Here? – which is probably neither here nor there to its long-term appeal. It’s a working-class, blue-collar outing that could garner modest attention with the right crew of people.