State of the Art: Mortalus

 *This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State*

This month’s State is Arkansas!


I have always had the opinion that there is no sense fixing what ain’t broken. As those that know me and readers of my articles know, I am an old guy that has grown up listening to all types of music and have a passion for all things Metal: new stuff, old stuff, super heavy stuff, melodic stuff; I don’t care and I simply love it all. Truth be told though, if I am looking for something guaranteed to please, however, I drop back into music that never seems to get old: Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, Metal Church, Savatage, Flotsam and Jetsam, Overkill, Slayer; and on and on. These are the bands of my formative years that help keep me in a youthful state-of-mind. Again, if ain’t broken…


This is where my final May State of the Art band truly excels. Straight Thrash. No embellishment of keyboards, over production, backing tracks or computer-altered sounds here. No bullshit whatsoever; just four real, honest-to-God musicians playing real instruments and leaving nothing but devastation in their wake. From Little Rock, Arkansas, Mortalus is rough in a good way, harkening back to the sound made popular by Metallica’s “Kill ‘Em All”, Flotsam and Jetsam’s “Doomsday For the Deceiver” and Slayer’s “Reign in Blood” in the late 80’s and early 90’s. With influences ranging from Metallica, Testament, Exodus, Machine Head, Crowbar, Pantera, Megadeth, Slayer, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Slipknot, Death Angel, OverKill, Anthrax, Symphony X, Iced Earth and the like, one would expect nothing less. This is certainly not to say the Mortalus is a wanna-be of these distinguished bands. These guys are the real deal. The current lineup has been in place since 2013 consisting of Donald Holland on guitar and vocals, Mike Gann on guitar and vocals, Bryan Bedgood on bass and vocals and Patrick Mahoney rounding things out on drums. Mortalus’ sound is heavy-guitar based in it’s rhythm with sharp, traditional, neck-shredding leads with some of the best bass lines available in any music; all grounded by the heavy foundation laid down by Mahoney’s drums. Vocals are huge and commanding, powerful and musical. To my ears, this is the definition of great Thrash. With one EP release available wherever you buy your music, “Fighting Until Death” is an investment in real music that is so lacking in today’s environment. Songs range from fun, tongue-in-cheek, movie referenced “Day of the Dead” and “Night of the Living Dead” to the extremely heavy and mature “End This Pain” to overtly patriotic (my feeling, is tributes to our veterans and the pain of war) “The Darkness…The Price I Pay” and “Here We Go”. Being a veteran, this really strikes a moving chord with me. The more I listen to Mortalus, the more I like them. They truly understand Thrash. It is not all seriousness and oppression, but can be fun without being corny at any point and still remain heavy and relevant. There is certainly nothing broken with Mortalus…

EP FightingUntilDeath

Mortalus has a crushing stage presence that is shared with the audience which explains their almost constant showing in and around Arkansas and Tennessee. I honestly don’t know who is more excited to be at the show, the audience or the band. I see no egos. Simply four talented musicians sharing their love for what the audience and myself love: Pure, unadulterated Thrash. Period. End of story. If you are tired of wading through twenty new bands to find one that you like, stop. Here is a straight line to what you are longing for. Mortalus…

Check Mortalus out on: Facebook  ReverbNation  Twitter

DonaldHolland BryanBedgood

Band PatrickMahoney

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About Odyssey

I have had a life-long love of music, but from the first time I heard Kiss and Black Sabbath with my landlord's son in Nicholasville, KY in the mid 70's, I have been hooked on Hard Rock and Metal. While my tastes in music have done nothing but expand since then, Metal remains closest to my heart. In addition, I have played bass, still play guitar and have literally 1000's of CDs/MP3s, so my knowledge is long steeped and honest. I don't buy the whole splintered, sub-genres thing and choose to like bands and music based solely on individual merits. Obviously, this is always colored by my mood, what I need at any given point and time and what is generally pleasing to my ear. I also don't like to rip any music or band, instead having an open mind and ear for it all because I have a passion for it all. It is completely subjective and in a constant state of flux. Consider me a music "nerd" not a music "snob". As an extension of this love, I hope to share this passion with everyone here and learn from your passion as well! - Odyssey -

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