Wave Gothic Treffen - 14 2005

Park Buhne: Leipzig, DE

"Mortiis" is very unique in character and has gained quite a bit of publicity over the simple fact that the lead singer (also known as Mortiis himself - as it used to be a one-man project) wears a troll nose and ears whenever he performs.

When I first discovered "Mortiis" it was with the release of "Stargate". This album was very atmospheric, not lending itself to normal song-structures or even lyrics persay. It was all about creating alternate mind-scapes and did so extremely well. There were bombastic drums, ambient sounds, beautiful melodic female vocals (delivered by Sara Jezebel Diva from "Therion" and "Cradle of Filth" fame - she also has her own project called "Angtoria").

With the following album "Smell the Rain" however, "Mortiis" developed into a more song-orientated project. Heavy rythmic guitars were introduced as well as solid keyboard and drum layers. The biggest change however was the vocal stylings of the main man himself.

"Mortiis" was well known as a member of the Norwegian black-metal outfit "Emporer" before he focused on his own project so personal speculation made me think the vocals would be in that vein but luckily for me and the world, his voice is much more unique and emphasizes real singing with varied emotions.

We saw "Mortiis" live at a Treffen two years previously but they played the Agra on that occasion and went on a bit early causing us to miss the first song or two. This time they were playing our favorite venue and went on time and had a great sound system.

The band looked different then last time but it is hard to tell with all the corpse paint/soot make-up but Mortiis looked the same, huge dreadlocks, long troll nose and large pointy ears.

Since seeing them last time the band has come out with a remix disc by lots of awesome remixers from the gothic-industrial-metal scene but no new material in quite some time. Even so, it was great to see them again and photograph them, especially outdoors at a better venue.

The two guitarists also sang back up on the chorus and added a nice touch to the band.

I feel fortunate for having had the chance to photograph "Mortiis" twice with all of his troll-kin presence intact because since this last concert shown here, he has steadily reduced this persona.

In his most recent photos on his website he has lost the nose and ears altogether but still wears lots of silvery-gray makeup. I guess he wanted to distance himself from what many viewed as a "gimmick".

I have mixed feelings about this personally. While glad that he has progressed personally where he feels he no longer needs to "hide behind a mask" and musically where he feels he no longer need a "gimmick"...

I honestly freakin' loved the way he looked with the nose/brow prosthetics combined with the large pointy ears. With the stage lighting and smoke machines and what-not it created a fantastic illusion of watching a goblin or troll perform music and it was awesome.

This persona was a big part of what got me into his music in the first place and albeit I am now a hardcore fan regardless of his appearance, I still loved it and will miss it.

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