REVIEW: Mortal Reminder – Mortal Reminder [2024]

Artist: Mortal Reminder
Album: Mortal Reminder

What happened to djent? I don’t mean djent in the form that it’s become most common—the occasional barrage of half-hearted groove thrown into a mix of radio-rock and watered down metalcore—I mean djent. You know the stuff—Volumes’ Via, or artists like Aristeia, Lifeforms, the list goes on. Somewhere in the mid-to-late 2010s, everyone’s favorite onomatopoeia seemed to just…dry up, to be found only sparingly included in works from progressive metalcore and arena metalcore bands alike (not to be confused with Thall, another onomatopoetic genre that somehow continues to live on). The style as we knew it seemed to vanish into thin air.

Until we got a reminder—or should I say a Mortal Reminder. Formed in 2023, Mortal Reminder is an underground supergroup of sorts, containing members from beloved metalcore acts Degrader, Sirens & Sailors and more. The result, however, is nothing like any single one of those acts, but rather something different altogether—and it djents. On their self-titled debut, Mortal Reminder take the unbarred aggression and brazen heaviness of east coast moshy, windbreaker metalcore (for lack of a better term) and infuse it with lethal amounts of groove to provide what I would consider one of the first true testaments to the lost art of djent that metalcore has witnessed this side of the 2020s.

Mortal Reminder is home to remarkably precise and subtly technical instrumental prowess that blends perfectly with unabashed aggression and pulverizing brutality. From the opening salvo of “The Gravest Sin” through the throes of “Thorn” and into the crushing series of breakdowns that conclude the record on “Last Whisper,” Mortal Reminder make it clear from jump that they are capable of creating unapologetically crushing metalcore. The percussion is a flurry of ghost notes, dizzying fills and tediously precise and pummeling footwork, especially abundant on “Alone as a God” and lead single “Thorn.” Other songs, especially “Suffer to Love” still see a barrage of incredibly percussion, but played in a way that balances the less aggressive and more introspective nature of the release as a whole. Here, percussion works intimately with bass and guitar to provide the same bouncy, energetic candor that the listener has come to expect from Mortal Reminder, but with a more melancholic hue. This track, especially when paired with its interlude counterpart, “Love to Suffer,” is an excellent example of the dynamism found within Mortal Reminder’s armamentarium.

How, though, does one make a djent release aggressive? For those who weren’t there for Lifeforms’ Multidimensional or Volumes’ The Concept of Dreaming, Mortal Reminder offer a brisk crash course. The band’s vocal element is visceral with dominating primal roars soaring over their gyrating grooves and grisly breakdowns alike. From the moment the listener is slapped with “you would never dare to stand against me,” they know that they’re in for a violent ride. Tracks like “Alone as a God,” “Stand Aside” and “Medusa” double down on the aggressive and violent nature of Mortal Reminder’s lyricism and delivery, complementing grinding, grooving guitars and pounding percussion with a raw and unhinged vocal approach. “Glass Heart,” on the other hand, maintains the quick, punchy and powerful tempo of the band’s heavier tracks with lyrics that sway more towards the likes of “Suffer to Love,” ruminating on love lost while still running the listener through a woodchipper with diamond-tipped blades.

Mortal Reminder are an incredibly impressive band for a variety of reasons. On one hand, they effortlessly balance the bouncy candor and instrumental mastery of progressive metalcore’s red-headed offspring in a remarkably tasteful way. On another, they are unafraid to lash out with crushing, definitive—and precise—blows in a way that only veterans of the metalcore circuit could. They blend these two styles; mosh-friendly chug-centric energy ad technically savvy, ultra-catchy cadence to create something that is accessible and vaguely nostalgic while still new and unlike a great majority of the band’s contemporaries. Mortal Reminder does not rely on rose-tinted glasses or worn-out gimmicks to latch their hooks into the listener’s flesh, and they are more than just a reminder of the genre’s heyday. Rather, do so by creating a passionate, powerful and poignant testament to all the best things about metalcore’s past and present to create a promising future.

For Fans Of: Volumes, Lifeforms, The Afterimage, Born a New, Reflections
By: Connor Welsh