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Modar : In My Meditation Time

Malaysia has become quite a big metal country compared to most of the Asian continent. At the time of writing there's 315 Malaysian bands in the Encyclopedia Metallum. In other words, there was just a matter of time before a Malaysian doom band appeared. Modar has existed since 1989 and was the bands original name, even though they had a Death inspired period of death metal around 1991, where they temporarily went under the name Demori. In mid-90's the band split up, but one of the previous bandmembers, the male vocalist and lead guitarist Lan, decided to revive it in 2006. The other previous bandmembers had lives of their own so Lan decided to recruit some of his pupils from the guitar class he was teaching. (Trivia: Lan joined in 1990, which makes this one of few bands which have none of the original crew still present.) Thus while being one of the oldest doom/death bands still around, they have remained in the shadow for several reasons. However, I believe that 'In My Meditation Time' has the ability to change this.

It should be said from the beginning that the recording has the quality of a good 80's cassette and the mastering does have a few funny points. However, if you can forgive old demos for having such a sound then this should be no problem either. In fact when seen in the light of the music, the album's still very much worth recommending. Especially since this is one of very few bands which have mixed the doom/death and doom/black approaches seamlessly. It's impossible to tell where the death metal elements end and the black metal elements begin. The only two others that come to mind are Black Lodge and Unholy. Other things in common with these two is that it contains both a clean female vocalist, a growling male, and quite uniquely structured riffage. It's not as much an utterly sad ride as it is a bleak and unsettling one.

Unlike the other two bands, however, Modar sounds like their influences come from the first generation bands of death and black metal, just like the bands Winter and diSEMBOWELMENT were. As you might expect from this description the music is mid-paced and not as heavy as most modern bands. Instead you'll hear more of that chugging oldschool thrash riffage. You can also expect more up-tempo sections than from newer sounding bands. Interestingly, there is also something about the riffage that strongly remind me of early Solitude Aeturnus and Candlemass.

The ninth track, 'Expression Deviate (a MODAR versus MORGGORM project)' deserves an explanation of it's own. It's 20 minutes long and basically contains three different tracks. The first seems to be a speed/death metal track that's a collaboration by Morggorm and Modar. The second and third are much slower tracks in the vein of what we've already heard from Modar but with a slight tinge of Asian folk music. They are supposed to be tracks from their previous album, 'Inferior Symphony', released in 1992. The track titles are apparently, in this order, 'Inferior Symphony (Part One)' and 'Predestination'. The recording quality on these last two is quite poor, but an interesting listen nonetheless.

Modar is a quite unique band with a very special style of extreme doom. There is no way I can properly tell you what to expect since it seems familiar yet so different at the same time. It's not too far from conventional bands, but they still don't have a conventional sound in most ways. I guess the only way to know if you'll like it or not is to listen to them yourselves: http://www.myspace.com/modarband.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Frozen Memory
2. In My Meditation Time
3. World of Deadly Dream
4. Unholy Death
5. Nightmare of Tears
6. Dying Philosophy
7. Sign of Fear
8. Doomsday Fantasy
9. Expression Deviate (a MODAR versus MORGGORM project)

Duration : Approx. 60 minutes.

Visit the Modar bandpage.

Reviewed on 27-07-2010 by Arnstein Petersen
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