Music Reviews

Review: A Stranger To Remorse – “Mortem” (Single)


Let’s face it: we’re all going to die. It’s our one universally shared inheritance in life: that we will all inevitably perish from this earth.  As perfectly natural as dying is, we still find the concept quite mortifying and label it as something to be considered as taboo because we don’t know much about it.  The only ones who do know are those who are deceased- and the dead tend not to speak. As a result, death is left up to the human imagination: we form religion, rituals, and philosophical ideals around the concept in an attempt to make sense and order out of our mysterious and unavoidable fate.  But perhaps the most unique, imaginative, and largely disagreed upon topic is the image of Death itself. Some call Death an agent, send to guide a soul from one realm to the next; others claim that Death IS the cause of death, as the mystical agent reaps the souls of the living.  Some depict Death as a woman, others a man.  But the most widely dispersed image is that of a skeletal figure in black robes, bearing a menacing scythe.  However, a new image is emerging as the legendary lethal figure of life. Our new agent of death?  A Stranger to Remorse. Their new single, “Mortem”, is packed with a perfect trifecta of pulverizing instrumentation, lethal technicality, and unrelenting musicianship that will effectively put you in the grave and bury you in it.

If there’s one word that can describe the entirety of “Mortem”, it’s murderous.  A smoothly-rising combination of a marching faint snare fill and discordant, hair-raising lick quickly turns into a treacherous display of death-dealing instrumentation and musicality that will surely incite heart palpitations. Guitarist Jeff Rowe’s catastrophic, grooving riffage twists and intertwines with sinister, discordant, melodic arias and overlays to create a jarring aural assault of ear-blasting, face-slamming, savagery with chilling, eerie sensationalism that will nestle into and haunt your ears for weeks to come.  Drummer Dustin Wild flexes his percussive might in a ferocious display of aptly crafted, crashing cymbal play, accentuated use of cymbal bells, rubbery kicks and devastatingly harsh fills and hits off of his snare and toms. The severity of this track, however, would not be complete without the grooving undertones of bassist Andy Koz’s bone-shattering bass, which maliciously flourishes in fleeting attacks of sliding riffs and string-snapping licks that practically signs your death certificate.  Vocalist Ryan Shanahan wields a relentless onslaught of low growls, searing ‘brees’, throat-tearing mid screams and yells, and the occasional head-splitting split-scream harmony that grows in intensity with every syllable of every word in every verse to effectively shred your eardrums into fragmented bits. A ghostly, haunting interlude built on subtle harrowing background instrumentation and a main focus on Rowe’s goosebump-inducing, haunted-carnival-esque discordant licks immediately break into a malevolent, vindictive breakdown that will snap every bone and viciously shred every piece of cartilage in your body as you are aurally-and nearly literally- put into the ground and buried.

A Stranger To Remorse’s “Mortem” is nothing short of sheer metal brilliance.  The unrelenting heaviness coupled with the brazen display of musicality and technicality that the band puts forth creates the revitalizing sound that fans of metalcore and deathcore have been dying to hear. If you’ve been searching, praying for deliverance in metal, look no further than A Stranger To Remorse’s “Mortem” – but be warned:

It will bury you(Katt Hass)


For Fans Of: Volumes, Adaliah, I Declare War



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