Continuing with the theme of ‘rare Ogre recordings’, here is another extremely short-lived side-project: Mutual Mortuary. Consisting of Bill Leeb (no longer going under the name Wilhelm Schroeder) and Kevin Ogilvie (aka Nivek Ogre), it only lasted long enough to contribute a few tracks to the early 80’s tape compilation Insane Music For Insane People (Volumes 9 & 10), along with other notable acts, including D’Archangel II (Edward Ka-Spel), Jarboe, The Legendary Pink Dots, Merzbow, Pseudo Code, Frontline Assembly, Illusion Of Safety, Nature And Organisation (!!!), and many others. Legend has it that (according to the Mindphaser website) that “personal issues” caused bad blood between the two, with the end result being that “Bill ran away with all the money from that record” (though whether it refers to the two compilations tracks or an entire record I am not sure, though I have not found any information conclusively stating/proving that a full-length record was ever created). Also, though this is somewhat unrelated, it is interesting to note that, upon hearing of a rumor that a Skinny Puppy re-union was being planed during the end of 1998, cEvin Key promptly responded by stating that: “‘I will personally not work with Bill again in my life. I think he is rude and his ego is very big and ugly'”. It is also important to note that, even if Leeb were on good terms with the Skinny Puppy members, it is unlikely that they would have included him on a reunion tour automatically, given the fact that his total input was two bass synth lines on the “Bites” album.
The two tracks (credited to “Muteual Mortuary” on the tapes, but later listed as “Mutual Mortuary” on fan bootlegs/compilations), while not being anywhere near as good as anything Skinny Puppy released during the prime of their career, are not terrible either. Both features basic drum beats, highly primitive, but still catchy and charmingly retro, keyboard melodies, and Nivek’s vocals brooding above it all. His vocals are one of the more notable points on these songs, as it has little of the virulent menace that his later albums would be known for. Instead, his delivery is, arguably, half murmured, and gives the overall impression of an extremely bitter individual, finally turned to apathy and indifference in the midst of life’s suffering (which is an unusual impression to receive from the lyrics, which in the first song includes the phrases “Please remember…I love you”. Odd, but then again, it’s just my opinion). “Hateless Insanity” features the previously stated phrases and delivery, while “Shadow Gods” is a bit darker by comparison, with Ogre ‘singing’ closer to his normal “Skinny Puppy voice”. On “Shadow Gods”, a quivering (for lack of a better descriptor) synth line propels the song along with an upbeat drum line, Nivek’s echoed and slightly snarling pondering. Personally, I prefer “Hateless Insanity” better for a few reasons: it’s odd name (“Hateless Insanity”?), it’s atypical approach (at least for the performers), and it’s slightly catchier melody, although both tracks are pretty decent overall.
As stated earlier, both tracks were released on the Insane Music compilation tapes in 1984 and 1985 respectively. These collections were then later re-released in limited CDr format in 2005 (though to my knowledge these specific collections are not available now, though I could be mistaken). Also, the Mindphaser website was offering them as a free download several years ago (this is how I acquired my mp3s of the songs), but, following a recent re-design of the website, many of their previous download offerings are no longer available (including the rare Front Line Assembly tracks “Holy War 1” and “Resuraction”). If you are interested in acquiring the “Insane Music…” compilations, I would recommend that you contact Alain Neffe to determine availability. In the meantime, I will inquire to see if anyone is offering it in download format (will update this post when I find or arrange something).
Much like the “A Chud Convention” release, this is an interesting detour: far from essential, but still a nice curiosity for those who are fans of the respective artists (although it must be admitted that these tracks are far more ‘conventional’ and ‘accessible’ than the relatively ‘out-there’ “Sorrow” album).