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Artist: Mortal
Label: Tooth and Nail Records
Total time: 49:09 minutes

Jyro Xhan and Jerome Fontamillas first appeared about a decade ago when they made up the new industrial music team of Mortal introducing most of Christian music to the industrial scene and sound. Since then, fans kept in touch with these two through more than a few musical incarnations, together and separately. They have sung and continue to sing ballads, praise music, dance music, and pop rock in bands like Jyradelix, Fold Zandora, Crystal Lewis's band, Switchfoot, and Juggernautz, to name a few. But Mortal fans haven't had any new Mortal music for about 7 years, until now.

The first cut on the new CD, “tenn0,” begins with the humming pulse of the industrial sound Mortal helped make famous in Christian music circles. The music and sound continues from a place the band abandoned years ago. From the initial cut to the last, there is no doubt that Mortal is back, and in legendary form. Mortal's last couple of records, before the long break, mellowed some, but with Nu-En-Jin they go back to an earlier, more cacophonic time, but with less samples than the first couple of albums. However, let me be clear, although Mortal is back with the old sound, they’ve also come back fresh. The music is clearly from today, with fresh beats, production and vision.

The CD flows from one cut to the next as the synthesizers and drum machines play out the brilliant intentions of their programmers. Fast noise and effect-laden screamed/sung vocals permeate the record. Only occasionally do the intermediate influences of Fold Zandora come to bear. Once or twice the guys throw in some clean, luxuriant vocal. Only once does the music show signs of the lush guitars of Fold-Zan. Mostly, the boys take a guitar kind of riff and fuzz it up on the keyboards/synths, with a great rock conclusion, or collusion, or collision.

The lyrics are hard to read in the CD booklet, but generally clear enough in the mix to understand that Mortal is encouraging believers (“FMZ4”), yet hard on worldly society (“Vilan Corp”). The excitement of Mortal music continues from song to song without a single disappointment until the pièce de résistance the final two cuts. These are fabulous remixes of Mortal classics. The first of the “Nu-Back-Trax” is “myth0 ex (green edit),” the remake of Lusis's "mytho-x," and then the anthematic “The Word is Alive (Jer0mix).” These two flashbacks alone make the disc worth owning.

Mortal fans rejoice. The remarkable music of Mortal is just as great as ever.

Tony LaFianza  11/6/2002



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