Mortiis Curse of the Damned

Mortiis Curse of the Damned
It would seem elfin-faced Mortiis is a cursed soul. That probably shouldn't be a surprise to this one-time member of Norwegian black metal outfit Emperor - after all, that band is best known for burning rustic Norwegian churches to further their dark cause. But Mortiis claims innocence - that his prosthetic goblin look is just an image, just like another seemingly evil, but harmless fellow, Marilyn Manson.

Mortiis switched artistic direction in late 1993, leaving behind the tumultuous grind his former band is known for, to concentrate on "dark dungeon music" - symphonic organ music that would make an excellent horror movie soundtrack. No surprise from someone whose favourite recording of all time is Basil Poledouris's score forConan The Barbarian .

"Ever since I started doing dark dungeon music as a solo endeavour, it seems like a dark shadow has been cast over my head," explains Mortiis on the phone from Stockholm, where he's been stranded at the American Embassy for five days, trying to secure a visa for his upcoming tour. "Everyone seems to think I am one of the most cursed people they know. My manager, my girlfriend, band members... everyone really."

Despite the apparent bad karma that might result, Mortiis truly believes in what he does, and vows not to let hindrances get in his way. "I really feel that Mortiis is something that was meant to happen. It just seems like God does not want it to exist. He obviously does not want Mortiis on this planet. The only way Mortiis will cease to exist is if I die. It is not as if I am an evil person or anything."

Mortiis' new album The Stargate was recently released on Earache, while his last release, 1996's Crypt of the Wizard will see its North American debut on - when else? - Halloween.