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MurkRat : Drudging The Mire

MurkRat's mournful chants conceal dark private secrets...



There are times when we come across an album so impressive, so peculiar, so different that we feel we won’t be able to turn into words the feelings and thoughts the music inspires us. Such is the case with this newly published album of MurkRat. The sophomore full-length of the Australian two-girl outfit (the singer, Mandy Vks Cattleprod being the only songwritter) reaches a new milestone and takes a decisive plunge into... something else, something blessed by very personal visions and vibrating with very personal emotions.

Let's first say that you should certainly not mistake the opening track for a simple intro. While it is indeed a piano-only piece, it's also a long one, clocking at more than 4 minutes, devoid of voices, and sounding more as if Chopin's ghost had come to offer us a interpretation of his ’Nocturnes’ while high on some very bad heroine. This is dark, savage, intense and chaotic, yet at times very calm and introspective. These basic elements will build the sound of MurkRat all along the disc, they are the facets of that dark gem that, turning in a poetic ether, casts reflections of sharp contrasts. The last track works as a mirroring experience, albeit slower, like a final godspeed.

In between, you'll find 6 long tracks that are...well, Doom for sure. But so many other things also. Let's take ‘I, Rodent’ as an example. It has everything you would expect from a classic Funeral Doom song: from your typical fuzzy guitars to dirge-telling drums... yet sometimes it penetrates dark neo-classical territories (especially in the stunning haunted vocals of Mandy) that reminds me of the days when Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard dwelled within the realm of a dying sun... before suddenly exploding into a chaotic burst, so typical of British bands like Ebonylake.

The influences are so vast, stretching from 18th/19th century music to the forefathers of Funeral Doom (Thergothon’s shadow undoubtely keeps being fed in the dark corridors of Mandy’s psyche), but with such great talent and personality that you can’t help but admire MurkRat for bringing you the missing part of the story the Finns had begun to write. Reading that page is sinking into a private world, full of sad thoughts longing for something long lost, it is being grasped by the spellbinding smells of the words and the strong emotions that carry them. This is visceral and extremely personal music; you almost feel embarrassed to burst into her intimacy, like if you were violating a secret.

MurkRat is Gothic, not in the cheesy 'girl-in-black-dress-quoting- Baudelaire-in-a-graveyard-while-mourning-the-passing-of-her-lover' but in the most baroque, distressing, nightmarish and Byronnesque sense of the word. This is what makes MurkRat so great: the science in mixing so many very diverse influences to create something hypnotizing, mesmerizing and yet still sober and ascetic. The asceticism is in the refusal of bombast, there’s no melody to chase after either, she doesn’t need that to evoke all those deep, fragile, yet strong feelings that will absorb you.

Deeply spiritual, authoritative, liturgical, full of chromatic breaks, thundering, hesitating, meditative, furious and suave, MurkRat’s ’Drudging The Mire’ is worth all the praises that could be carved on the cold prehistoric rock of some moon-kissed high peak... praises for MurkRat!!

Reviewer's rating: Unrated

Information

Tracklist :
1. Processional: Drudging The Mire
2. I, Rodent
3. Faceless
4. World
5. Electric Womb
6. The Mighty Spires
7. Speak
8. Berceuse - Slow Immersion

Duration : Approx. 72 minutes

Visit the MurkRat bandpage.

Reviewed on 2011-02-26 by Laurent Lignon and Bertrand Marchal
Aesthetic Death
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