MRTVI – Omniscient Hallucinatory Delusion Review

Don your best tinfoil cap before listening to MRTVI. You’ll need all the protection you can get as this weirdo music short-circuits your frontal lobe causing it to fire off all sorts of thoughts you don’t want our alien overlords, or the damned government, to be able to steal from your soupy brain.

Release date: November 6, 2020. Label: Transcending Obscurity Records.
Damjan Stefanovic is the sole guide to this splintering of the mind’s eye and he has created an experience intentionally designed to feel like an acid trip gone awry. Omniscient Hallucinatory Delusion is album number three for Stefanovic offering 12 tracks broken down into four sets of three-song chapters. If you found that amount of numbers in a single sentence to be upsetting, you may not like MRTVI since processing the layers of madness during certain stretches of this record requires a math degree. This aural psychosis mixes the coked-out, circus-style bounciness of Mr. Bungle’s self-titled album with the crystal-cooking precision of Gigan’s technical space dust and snorts it all through a black metal straw.

That big-top bounce is established in the quiet introductory moments of album opener “Living In Repetition.” The track starts soft, slow and seemingly upbeat, but there’s an ominous undercurrent that builds like Pennywise stifling a maniacal laugh as he’s beamed up to a UFO. By the time its closing seconds have come around, MRTVI has unleashed their preferred brand of heaviness: There are guitar runs that compete with one another in each ear sounding less like riffs and more like HAL 9000 having a breakdown; multiple vocal techniques implemented to sound like they are arguing with each other; and drums that typically follow a militant brand of blasting that is often the only thing for the listener to grab onto for any semblance of grounding.

What follows is seven-and-half minutes of ear battering in the form of “Mass Hallucination.” This is both the longest song on the album and the most consistently challenging as almost the entire runtime sees MRTVI unleashing every form of chaotic energy they seem capable of. Even in this most abrasive of tracks, however, Stefanovic manages to perfectly time moments to give the listener something to latch onto where the music is more straightforward. Around the five-minute mark, the song drops into a chugging thrash rhythm for some good headbanging before shifting into a nice discordant riff that unravels back into the fray of madness.

MRTVI does an excellent job of timing those stretches that offer a “hook” as it were. “Self Slaughtering” opens with a nice creepy guitar note bouncing in and out of a straightforward hard-hitting drumbeat before transitioning to pure aural discord. In fact, “Chains of Illusion” is an entirely digestible track from start to finish. It appears at the mid-point of the album and offers some absolutely driven tremolo riffing with pterodactyl screams and some lovely cymbal flourishes to keep things spicy. This song does miss out on a prime opportunity for a Tom G. Warrior “Oogh” when all the music drops out entirely and is re-launched off a single cymbal hit.

The other way that MRTVI dodges listener fatigue is by working in moments of calm, beauty and all sorts of weirdness that don’t require heavy distortion and several layers of the musical equivalent of a demolition derby. “Invisible Scars” doesn’t just offer you a chance to catch your breath, it starts with the actual sounds of someone breathing. There are still Twilight Zone space noises and wonky voices to keep things from being too easy, but as the fourth track, it is a welcome reprieve from the all-out blitz that had been occurring prior. “Terminal Ignorance” spends most of its time layering creepy chanting and humming like something out of a 70s horror movie with a soundtrack by Goblin Simonnetti. The closing chapter of Omniscient Hallucinatory Delusion mostly pulls back and ends the album on a more bizarre note. “Perceived Entirety” opens with chimes and features underwater vocals in the vein of “Planet Caravan.” Closer “Obscured Reality” still relies on atonal notes and a discomforting approach to producing, but the track is much more open and meandering so that it sounds more like the evil you released from Pandora’s Box being sucked back into it as a spell reverses your error and slams the box back shut.

Realistically, it won’t take you long to figure out if this album is for you or not. MRTVI scratches a very specific type of itch and one that not a ton of people have in the first place. The idea to create shorter tracks was surely an attempt to make this type of music more approachable and digestible. Ultimately, the way the songs are written doesn’t make them feel connected in the intended chapter format. I can’t say track three presents a stronger connection to track two in its own chapter than it does to track four, which opens the next one. It feels as though some ideas were turned into full tracks when they may have been more effective as elements woven into a longer song like on previous MRTVI albums. The chapter concept is great for this type of music; it just would’ve been better as four long songs with a more distinct theme in each one. The only other fault that MRTVI runs into is one that many artists succumb to – runtime! This type of music is very difficult to take on when it pushes toward an hour.

Omniscient Hallucinatory Delusion is basically what it would sound like if the aliens from Close Encounters of the Third Kind had decided to partner up with cenobites to communicate via heavy metal while ripping apart the human race with hooks and chains. Oh, such sounds MRTVI has to show you!

Posted by Spencer Hotz

Admirer of the weird, the bizarre and the heavy, but so are you. Why else would you be here?

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