Monday, September 7, 2015

Mephorash : "1557 Rites of Nullification"

This Swedish black metal is an odd beast. Featuring a choir of vocalists, three and a guitarist who also sings backing vocals, and one of the singers was in Ofermod. No drummer is credited as being in the band. They have a big sound, think Behemoth. Watain is the closest of their country men they could be compared to, but they do not have that rawness to their attack even in the sparse blasting sections. There is chanting and symphonic keyboards layered about the vast cavern this sounds like it was recorded in. Despite the big almost arena sized sound, they still maintain a somewhat ritualistic element to their music. The vocals are low gurgled rasp and some times chanted over a stacatto pound. At one point it sounds as if the vocals even go into throat singing. After they have crawled down into the serpentine levels of the abyss the blast beats can be a bit of a buzz kill, yet they can flow out of them with a creepy passage of clean guitar and a distant organ.

The second song breaks the ten minute mark, but they do not drone on or take too to long to get to the point. There is a fair amount of ambiance leading into "Cheidolun" but less than a minutes worth and a slow beat crashes into with a depressive meter.  Not that they are bad at blast beats, its just that the band is so good at other things it seems like they are just throwing them in because its expected.  "Phezur" has a very Mayhem like feel to the vocals that are almost sung in a bellow more than rasped. The excel at creating an evil atmosphere and then jarring you out of it with blast beats. Some of colder and more stark guitar passages could use a little less minimal drumming to support them. The drip of rain and the ringing of a bell, links the closing song to "Cheidolun". They go out with a more feral roar, but this too is given a catchy groove and larger than life boom.

The distorted throb of bass that they use to as a bridge in one part is one of the albums best moments and even though it leads to a more typical torrent of double bass proves to be an effective transition. These guys are not predictable. They are very dark as black metal should be , but when aligning itself too closely to punk can loss that feeling and become preoccupied with raw speed. The synths are well placed on this album and it has an elegance to it's depressing introspection the songs often fall back onto. Lyrically you can sometimes get an understandable glimpse into their grimoire. Its very occult based, but not in an obnoxius stab for attention. Sure there are some similarites to Mayhem and Watain, at times it is like you mixed the two together but when it comes to black metal those are good influences to wear on you spike gauntlets. I'll give this album an 8.5 it was very enjoyable and if you are looking for good tortured yet darkly ritualistic black metal that doesn't sound like it was recorded in a tine can this is worth your time.

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