CD, Telegrammetry, 2007
Mordacious’ “Torture Tactics” displays some of the best and, unfortunately, worst harsh electro and EBM elements on offer today – melodic, driving synthesizer lines and angry, powerful vocals coupled with clichéd common time beats and uninteresting, repetitive sequencing.
Yes, Mordacious definitely feels at home behind a keyboard, creating simple, catchy melodic hooks that help define the mood in every one of the songs on the album. In fact, I would go so far as to say that he delivers better synthesizer work than many more established artists in the genre, like Suicide Commando or Hocico, while still remaining true to their obvious influence. His characteristic vocal treatments are testament to this. The only negative in this regard is the similarity of sounds across the album – bassline synths are varied and deliver definite groove, but the melodies rely on only a few basic presets that are slightly tweaked when needed.
Sadly, all this excellence becomes clouded by the percussion element of the album. Personally, I found the overly simple 4/4 dance beats very repetitive, and the instruments themselves could have been equalized and compressed better. Kicks are a little clipped and hats are just a tad high-pitched, creating unpleasant reverberation in the upper register. Longer builds (coupled with layered synths, not just snares, like on “Cry For Me”) would build better tension, too, and probably lead to more dynamic breaks – a trick from commercial house music that Mordacious could well learn.
In the end, there are definite gems on this record (my personal favourite being the harder mix of “What To Say” – one example of where the drum work is spot on) and there is undoubtedly room for development. With time, Mordacious’ music can easily grow from horny, angst-ridden adolescent bitching into mature, cynical brilliance, unconcerned with what others think.
— David vander Merwe