Mortiis is a project from Notodden, Norway fronted by Håvard Ellefsen. The name is a misspelling of the Latin word "mortis" (the genitive singular form of the word "mors", meaning "death"). Mortiis started in 1993 as the solo project of Ellefsen as a means to convey a story. This aspect was lost over time and Mortiis slowly changed into a band.
Håvard Ellefsen, often referred to as Mortiis, is the only constant band member. He was born in Skien, Telemark. Mortiis began his musical career playing bass for the black metal act Emperor. He stayed with the band just over one year (performing on the seminal "Wrath of the Tyrant" demo and writing the lyrics to "I Am the Black Wizards"), before going on to create his own solo project, though unlike his previous band the music would be dark ambient oriented. Ellefsen was experimenting greatly with music during his early solo career. He started four separate projects, though the focus was always on Mortiis.
Dark Dungeon Music was the personal record label of Mortiis. It operated between 1995 and 1999 while Mortiis resided in Halmstad, Sweden, and released mostly limited-edition vinyl. It was dissolved as Mortiis moved back to Norway in late 1999. Mortiis as a band was formed shortly after the release of "The Smell of Rain".
Era I: The title of Era I was never intentional. It came about in 2001 when Mortiis was set to release The Smell of Rain, which was such a departure from his earlier records that he wanted to brand it in a way to signify this. All works previous to The Smell of Rain were thereafter referred to as Era I as consequence.
All of the Era I albums were composed entirely on synthesizers, creating a sound that Mortiis described as "dark dungeon music". The last album of this era, The Stargate, went a step further by introducing a wider range of instruments including acoustic guitars, flutes and dark vocals; mainly provided by Sarah Jezebel Deva.
Era II: The Smell of Rain created a divide among fans;[who?] the songs this time had an electropop feel to them, and frontman Ellefsen took to lead vocals for the first time. This would be the only release under the title of Era II. It was during this era that Ellefsen decided he needed to seek members to perform in a live setting, which later helped change how Mortiis as a band sounded.
Era III: With Era III came The Grudge, which took an even more drastic turn from previous eras and is said to have made the biggest impression of any of his albums. The Grudge took on a heavy industrial rock emphasis, combining grinding guitars and industrial programming. Some of the longtime fans were again not too happy with this turn, but it helped gain Mortiis more new fans. In 2005, the Norwegian Culture Council selected The Grudge to be freely available for listening to the public in libraries across the country.
On April 16, 2007 Mortiis released a remix album titled Some Kind of Heroin, reworking material from The Grudge, via Earache Records. "Some Kind of Heroin" offers diverse remix material including interpretations by a wide range of contemporaries, such as Zombie Girl, Gothminister, Implant, XP8, PIG, The Kovenant, Velvet Acid Christ, Girls Under Glass, David Wallace, Kubrick, Flesh Field, Dope Stars Inc, In the Nursery among others.
The Great Deceiver was originally finished in 2008, and includes mixes by Chris Vrenna (NIN, Manson). Additional material has also been finished. In fact, enough material for another album was finished during 2009. Late 2009 and early 2010 earlier music has been partly reprogrammed and re-arranged for future live use.
Side projects include Cintecele Diavolui, Fata Morgana, and Vond.
1993 - Født til å Herske
1995 - Ånden som gjorde opprør
1995 - Keiser av en dimensjon ukjent
1996 - Crypt of the Wizard
1999 - The Stargate
2001 - The Smell of Rain
2004 - The Grudge
2010 - Perfectly Defect
2013 - The Great Deceiver .