Italy—a country most often celebrated for its cuisine, leisure and fantastic wines—has, at times, produced some very terrific dark metal (in addition to their particularly dark operas). Perhaps the residual darkness stems from those pesky days of Christian slaughter in Rome. Or perhaps it’s a backlash to La Popa and his Vatican City of sinners. Regardless, Italian metal bands are usually more quantity than they are quality, with occasional exceptions like Abhor and Ufomammut. Mefitic may not yet be on that level, but their debut LP, Woes of Mortal Devotion, reveals a band poised to make a very serious name for themselves.
Mefitic has been around for a while, but their discography doesn’t have much to show for it. Their few demos, splits and a single EP, Columns of Subsidence, showed a band that was immature—composing chaotic songs that lacked a final destination or endpoint. On Woes of Mortal Devotion, their first full-length in a now-11-year career, Mefitic has kept that chaotic foundation but added everything that was missing to make the effort complete. All songs lead to black death. The album is a masterpiece of construction, calling to mind some very, very established and exceptional influences.
Mefitic composes tracks that are dense, full of churning guitars and deeply connected undercurrents enhanced by vocals that seem to rise out of the chasms of hell. Their composition reveals influences such as fellow black/death metal bands like Impetuous Ritual, Teitanblood and even the infallible Grave Miasma. The opener, “Greivous Subsidence” maps out the pattern for the album: the beginning will be dark and enchanting, and then just as the listener has settled in, the assault begins. The guitar pace quickens, the vocals swirl up from the depths. The feeling is only enhanced by the songs bleeding into each other and the similarity in sound and style which never reaches monotony. Other songs might be more plodding in their rhythm, e.g. “Eroding the Oblates of the Lord 2” or “The Tomb of Amaleq,” but the feeling and the aura that is created is chaotic nonetheless. Even the sampled spoken word on “Mendacious Psalmodia” will seem utterly entrenched in the spirit of the album.
Woes of Mortal Devotion is an excellent representation of infectious music, and an album you can really get lost in. More than 40 minutes of sonic death assault infects your insides. The vocals are both deep and loud—not an easy thing to accomplish. Their depth, enhanced by a touch of reverb, demands attention as the musical support obliterates all in its path. Woes of Mortal Devotion may not make any year-end lists but it has all the makings of an album that could end up being a monumental work of blackened death metal (is that still a genre?). It’s an incredibly solid effort from a band that is now showing an abundance of promise.