Album Review: Mesmur – “Terrene”

Mesmur - Terrene

A red glow illuminates a path of ash.  Lifeless, the only movement in the distance is a dark fog slowly ascending.  The sovereigns of suffering, international death/funeral doom act Mesmur, paint a dystopian landscape on their third studio album Terrene.  The album beautifully captures complex, heavy emotions through poetic, vivid lyrics backed by heavy synths and guitar, mixed with a hint of softness through cello and flute.  Mesmur know how to create something tragically beautiful as Terrene displays raw emotions over the course of an intense yet dreamlike musical journey. Continue reading

Album Review: The Wraith – “Gloom Ballet”

The Wraith - Gloom Ballet

Somehow the seedy dive bar you enter is darker than the night outside.  The music throbs, sending out pulses your cerebral cortex can’t process but some older, primordial part of your brain instinctually knows, and understands.  It’s that crux, that convergence of the primal beat that falls partly between the post punk of the early 80s and the tradition of gothic rock and roll, where early Danzig meets The Cult and howl into the moonlight.  Call it whatever you want, “death rock” or otherwise; there’s no mistaking the bleeding heart of influence laid bare on the sleeve of The Wraith.  To have something like Gloom Ballet arrive like a shot so late in the year is like that one drink at said bar that puts you over the edge from wary observation to full-on goon dance, and it’s a marvel to experience. Continue reading

Album Review: Ad Nemori – “Akrateia”

Ad Nemori - Akrateia

When it comes to music, we tend to go for things we already know. Humans are creatures of habit and we enjoy what we like because it’s familiar and it doesn’t require a lot of processing power. After all, it’s easier to listen to an album that we know for sure we are going to like than dedicate time to something that we aren’t sure we are going to enjoy. This was my dilemma with Ad Nemori’s Akrateia, an album that on the surface sounded like something I would enjoy but was hesitant to do so because traditional death metal is not a genre I seek often. However, I enjoy atmosphere on an album — especially when done correctly — so I decided to give this album a go. Continue reading

Album Review: Obsequiae – “The Palms of Sorrowed Kings”

Obsequiae - The Palms of Sorrowed Kings

Black metal has an identity problem, and it’s exhausting.  The community froths at the mouth to validate, accuse, hoist aloft or otherwise dismantle what it means to be black metal in the current age.  But then I look at the rolling fields and crumbling ruins in broad daylight that note the arrival of a new Obsequiae record and I breathe a sigh of relief.  Here is a band unconcerned with status, with genre, with any kind of presence (seriously, beyond a Metal Archives listing I couldn’t find anything) in the community other than to carry high the singular sound they’ve been refining for three albums now.  And now the consumer of music can turn from the maelstrom and rejoice, for The Palms of Sorrowed Kings stands as the clearest, finest example of the kind of thing Obsequiae and no one else is doing in metal right now.  Continue reading

Album Review: Iapetus – “The Body Cosmic”

Iapetus - The Body Cosmic

It’s hard to stick out in the melodic/progressive death corner of this thing we call metal.  So many bands are cramming so many notes into so many songs it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.  So knowing what you want out of music is essential to picking through the noise and static.  And Iapetus seem acutely tuned into what I’m looking for in a standout album: The Body Cosmic revels in intricate riff construction that refuses to bow to soulless technicality, instead focusing on melody and song craft to create an epic aural journey that’s a standout for the year. Continue reading