The music in this album has a lot more industrial and gothic overtones than Mortiis' previous releases. This is Mortiis' latest release (his third) and the tunes are more accessible than ever. The music is also cleaner, catchier, and symphonic. To be honest, this is the first time I'm really getting into Mortiis' releases, and the music is amazing (amazing enough to have found an immediate influence in my own music) the atmosphere projected by it is incredible. One of the reasons the music appeals to me is that it's entirely created on keyboards, with oboes and French horns and a persistent timpani. The vocals are spoken (in Norwegian) and effect is to create a wise, majestic, and regal sound. It's easily possible when one composes this sort of music to forget the listener, to sound distant and haughty, but Mortiis doesn't. This does come off as a sincere attempt on Mortiis' part to communicate his visions to the listener. I am so earnest in encouraging you to try this music out that I am going to make some comparisons to contemporary music today, and the diversity in these comparsons should be telling. The music is reminiscent of artists as diverse as Paradise Lost, Pet Shop Boys, Brian Eno, and Beethoven, just to name a few. The whole album (47 minutes worth) consists of two compositions, with some repetitious passages. I highly recommend obtaining this album if you're at all curious about Mortiis' sound, and then going back to the older releases. This is bound to appeal to fans of both classical music and black metal, and others in between.
This album is definitely a distinct departure from Mortiis' previous works and the cover art, which depicts Mortiis as an elf-demon, belies the music. In previous works, the music mirrored the mood, which was dark and black. The album features catchy ambient pieces tied together by the concept of The Stargate, i.e., of moving from one region of space in this universe to another. The Stargate is primarily comprised of symphonic and keyboard work that nicely complements a mystical tale of "grim journeys, hard fought battles and grim contemplation, cloaked with a mythological backdrop of psuedo-reality." In addition, there are some interesting vocals by Kalle Metz and Sarah Jezebel Deva. The Stargate is an excellent piece of introspective music to contemplate and experience.
Mortiis' Crypt of the Wizard continues the progression seen in Keiser av en dimension ukjent and The Stargate, from moody "dark dungeon" music to symphonic pieces with a majestic flair to them. There are definitely some Floydian elements here, and musically the album has a concept attached to it (i.e., similar musical elements pop-out throughout the album, which makes it hard to get it out of your head). Crypt of the Wizard is arguably Mortiis' best effort to date, having some really good minimalist electronic pieces. Definitely a pleasure to listen and relax to, whether you're driving or just having a siesta.