"The Great Deceiver killed the band," says Mortiis, frontman and namesake of the Norwegian ensemble. "As important as is it to myself and who I have become, I haven't been able to think about it in any way other than ‘I need to just get this thing out of my life and behind me before I lose my mind.'" It's not that the record – Mortiis' ninth – is anything less than stellar. Mortiis' conflicted feelings toward The Great Deceiver is a result of its torturous state of constant evolution, leading Mortiis – the man and the band – through the darkest of places and back.
Its themes of anger, greed, confusion, self-doubt and re-discovery saturate the album, resulting in Mortiis' most labored yet honest record yet. The twisted journey weaves its way through feelings of anger and resentment on "Demons are Back," through the Biblical metaphors of "The Ugly Truth," then takes on a disdain for greed in "The Shining Lamp of God," "Feed the Greed" and "Scalding the Burnt." Self-doubt comes to the forefront on "Sins of Mine," personal darkness permeates "Too Little Too Late" and "Road to Ruin" expresses a near-admission of defeat, while "Doppelganger" hits upon pure schizophrenia. The cycle of The Great Deceiver takes Mortiis down a path of reparation, with an attempt to exorcize demons on "Hard to Believe" and accepts the ghosts of the past on "Bleed Like You." The lyrical journey concludes with "The Great Leap," one of the most lyrically affirmative songs of Mortiis' career, with an expression of embracing great change.
Musically, The Great Deceiver continues along the winding path that Mortiis' two-decade career has taken. It all came together cohesively, mixing together aggressive guitar-driven crossover metal with industrial-type electronics, for a record that could easily be considered the most accessible in Mortiis' catalog. Yet Mortiis remains in an un-classifiable musical genre, one that encompasses too many elements to be summed up by a simple two-word description.