Mortal Soul from Kenya is a “mostly” metalcore band. I say mostly, as a lot of what they do is most likened to metalcore. Their riffs are solid but not a single breakdown could be heard on their debut EP, Ashes in the Wind. With this in mind, I hereby class them as Kenya-core (Power given to me by the Shadowy Pigeon Holing Council). Fellow Nairobi metallers, Last Year’s Tragedy, also fall into this category. Onward!
Now I’m not a fan of words like “crushing” or “brutal” or anything in that vein, but the opener “My Soul” lays down a crushingly groovy riff right off the bat, after which it drops tempo (Not in a breakdown way) into a slow-paced, ballady-type deal. I suppose it could be classified as a modern power ballad? Think Meatloaf, Queen etc. but without the sequins or silly questions. It’s a testament to how personal their music is to them. Kudos.
The next piece on offer is “Solace” a riff-fest of note, showcasing how their guitarists wield their axes as weapons of the faith. The mixture of clean and growling vocals works quite well here and this trend continues throughout the EP, taking cues from Killswitch Engage, which is not a bad thing. The song progresses to a veritable crescendo of guitars and double bass, and who doesn’t love a crescendo?
“Bankai” is next on the playlist. Catchy friggin riffs, a sing-a-long chorus of note; it’s just that kind of song – that song that they open their set with, and the whole crowd just loses it. There’s enough soloing to keep even the most true metal diehard (like me) happy as a clam! I could go on, but just listen to the track streaming below, in fact, scroll down, let it play, come back up and read the rest of the review. What I will say here is that the clean vocals take a brave leap in the second verse, judge for yourself. Also, dat chorus.
“Rise” follows and slows the EP back down in such a groovy way. There are some nice touches in the background guitars that are almost post-metal in their execution. A good solid closer to the EP. I may have misspoke earlier… there is a breakdown here… but such a warranted one, that I let it slide. I said closer, but I lied. There is more to this EP if you have the physical disc version.
There is a very In Flames‘ Sounds of a Playground Fading-esque interlude which reminds me of “Behind the Jester’s Door”, which leads into to acoustic versions of “My Soul” and “Solace”. Both translated quite well into acoustic tracks.
And that’s it. Hopefully the first of Many Kenyan Metal releases to be reviewed, (Obviously forgetting about the Absence of Light‘s Vyom Chakra review – ED) I for one look forward to hearing more from the burgeoning metal scene from the land of a really big mountain and lions.
As promised, below is Bankai, streaming, just click it.