Mesmur‘s sprawling sound lies at the point where apocalyptic doom and insurmountable melancholy converge on their sophomore full-length, S.
Whereas their 2014 eponymous debut focused more on the often unbearable aspects of human existence, S sees the band setting their sights on the chaotic, lawless void of the universe as a whole – crafting soundtracks to the deaths and rebirths of interstellar bodies, and the cosmic end of the universe as a whole. To compliment these lyrical themes, Mesmur modifies their sound to be as vast and expansive as the universe itself, disregarding their debut’s flirtation with death-doom in favor of more funeral doom stylings.
“Singularity” kicks off this nearly 60-minute funeral for the universe with over 15 minutes of hulking, malevolent instrumentation. The guitars lurch at a menacingly slow pace, insuring each chord crushes with the weight of a dying star. Steady, seismic drumming and dissonant bass lines make up the monolithic rhythm section, giving the guitars a bit of competition where heaviness is concerned. All this leviathanic doom is enshrouded in swirling, cosmic atmospheres and haunting, choral synths that mimic a cultish congregation. As it reaches its end, the track gradually decays into shimmering clean guitars and lengthy barrages of hollow ambiance and electronic murmuring before being swallowed by nothingness.
The band trade in aural apocalypse for lumbering sadness on the 14-minute “Exile”. Here the band weave back-and-forth between somber, echoing dirges wrapped in ethereal atmospheres, and towering, melodic crawls. These huge bouts of trudging instrumentation hint at black metal’s icy lineage with its siren-like leads, but retain their cataclysmic doom rhythms and sonic weight to ensure listener’s are trapped in a slow-burning, auditory abyss.
The penultimate “Distention” delivers over 16 minutes of devastating funeral doom that sucks listeners into a black hole of existential despair. The track begins with creeping guitars that build a sense of tension that is eventually released when the band conjure these behemoth-sized, angular riffs that reverberate throughout the listener’s mind with each and every note. This track is so hypnotically repetitive that it is hard not to get lost in the revolving door of haunting instrumentation and sinister noise.
Despite being the shortest track on the record, “S = k ln Ω” is probably one of the more multifaceted tunes on S. The seven-minute instrumental begins with buzzing, angelic synths that hum and twitch for the first three minute or so of the track, gradually becoming more malevolent with each passing moment. But, in a surprising turn of events, the band craft these huge, post-metal like passages that are drenched in these shimmering waves of cosmic atmospheres and melodies, almost as if this particular track signifies the glorious rebirth of a star.
Perhaps the main issue with the record concerns the vocals. The band’s use of ghastly guttural vocals across this 53-minute effort is rather one-dimensional and doesn’t add much to the record on the whole. While this vocal style is not unheard of in this genre, and it certainly doesn’t distract from the overwhelming positives of the release, it would have been nice to hear a bit more variety on an album that is much more than a standard funeral doom album.
Overall, S is a solid doom metal record that is a must-listen for fans of planetary annihilation and overwhelming sadness.
Release Date: September 15, 2017
Label: Solitude Productions
Favorite Tracks: “Exile”
For Fans Of: Mournful Congregation, Evoken and Lycus