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Album of the Month


Mesmur's sophomore lands a second Prog-tinged bullseye on the Funeral-paced Death/Doom target.
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Mesmur : Mesmur


Mesmur's debut is a truly excellent record that should be part of any Funeral/Death Doom lover's collection.



Mesmur is a multi-national outfit with members hailing from the USA, Norway and Australia. As far as I can tell they all play in other bands and this is somewhat a side project for all of them. I'm not familiar with any of the other acts they play with, and had not heard of Mesmur until I picked up this record for review, so I was coming in with no real preconceptions. The only real hint I had to the quality of the record was that it is released through Code666, who have put out a number of records that I have enjoyed in recent years.

The label's page lists the record as Funeral Doom. I feel this is a good example of just how much Funeral and Death Doom have merged over the last few years as Death Doom bands add slower and slower elements and Funeral Doom bands start adding sections that aren't crushingly slow. For me, 'Mesmur' is closer to something like Catacombs or My Shameful than Thergothon or Skepticism. Not wishing to start any kind of elitist holy war however, I shall leave the genre quibbling for now and move on to the review!

Let me get straight to the point then: this is a fantastic record. Mesmur have really captured the essence of everything I love about slow, depressive music. All the songs have the right balance between dark and beautiful. The lead guitars have a wonderfully eerie nature about them that reminds me of Jarkko Toivonen's work on the early Unholy records. There is something about the scales used and the phrasing that is extremely unsettling (in a good way) and does a fantastic job of creating the correct atmosphere. The vocals rarely deviate from a perfectly executed death growl, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Production-wise, 'Mesmur' is fairly typical for the genre. Large reverbs abound on drums, lead guitars and vocals. The rhythm guitars are chunky in the low end, but have a fizziness on top that gives them great clarity in the mix. The bass is low and anchors everything as it should. Overall, the mix is very polished and clear sounding without losing any heaviness.

The one element that really made me sit up and take notice of this record is the use of keyboards. As a dedicated keyboard abuser myself, I am instantly drawn in by anything with a variety of interesting sounds, which 'Mesmur' has in abundance. There are sweeping synths, menacing pads, Mellotrons, strings, piano, all used to further enhance the sonic qualities of the songs. Keyboards are so often limited to just organ or choir sounds within the genre, and it is really great to hear a good selection of sounds. My only minor complaint is that, to my ears, some of the sounds that replicate real instruments such as the piano and violin don't sound quite like the real thing, but honestly this does little to detract from the quality.

While each song is individually excellent, the record becomes truly powerful when taken as a whole. The songs are similar enough in sound and feel to give the album a very cohesive feel, but different enough that they are all equally important to the final result. The track order feels exactly right, with all the changes in tempo and dynamics across them feeling completely natural. The last track, 'Osmosis', fulfils it's role perfectly, slowly building from ominous keyboards, through the excellent heavy riffing that is present throughout, before entering the real emotional climax of the whole album. This outro is exactly what I want from any record: it is epic and beautiful and almost always has me hitting the play button to kick the album off once more.

I've had to think quite hard to come up with any negative points to make about this record, but if you held a gun to my head I suppose I would say that it isn't really pushing any boundaries. However, it is far from uninspired, and whilst it may retread paths made by some of the genres greats, everything is executed so well that it doesn't matter one bit.

This is a truly excellent record that should be part of any Funeral/Death Doom lover's collection. I really hope that the members of Mesmur see the band as more than just a side project and continue to produce records of this calibre for many years to come. Until then, I shall continue to play this one on repeat.


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Reviewer's rating: 9/10

Information

Tracklist :
1. Deprivation
2. Lapse
3. Abegnate
4. Descend
5. Osmosis


Duration : Approx. 52 minutes

Visit the Mesmur bandpage.

Reviewed on 2015-02-08 by Kris Clayton
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