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Classic revisited

Mistralth : My Grief

Following Mistralth's lengthy hiatus, their sophomore return is a most finely realised sonic sadness.

After a substantial gap of 16 years, Finland's Mistralth return with their second album, the follow up to 2001's independently released 'Diary of Despair'. Having enjoyed a lengthy hiatus, the group reformed with a new line-up and began demoing new tracks in 2015. And so, in September 2017 Mistralth's sophomore effort was finally unleashed. Fortunately, it's apparent very quickly that this second coming has produced an outstanding new album. One almost wishes that Mistralth hadn't left it so long to reform and release new material, but then, as with so many things, it seems life got in the way. And perhaps that had to happen for this album to work, because 'My Grief' is very much the sound of a group of individuals that have experienced life in all its cruel, agonising glory.

Given the overwhelming sense of sorrow that permeates the music, this an album that is aptly named. In this very darkest of seasons when the cold wind bites and howls, the gaudy excesses of the festive season still seem a long way off, and the nights seems to draw in around us, if one were to look for a soundtrack to compliment their surroundings, this could well be the perfect choice. It just bleeds a sense of the deepest sadness and melancholy. Opening track 'No Tomorrow' sets the scene perfectly with it subdued, brooding introduction creating a profound sense of melancholia. Building in intensity, with a brutal Death Metal style vocal from R.K (formerly of Napoleon Skullfuk and Inverted Virtue), it's a powerful and affecting expression of grief.

There is no respite from the misery at any stage. Anyone looking for any hope of redemption, a chink of sunlight to penetrate the looming, ominous clouds of Doom will not find it. But sometimes it's good to wallow, and Mistralth do so with the best of them. Whilst there is no let-up in the crushing melancholia, there is interesting variety in the way it is expressed. 'Feel Nothing' utilises clean vocals to great effect, with drummer Daniel N standing in at the mic to deliver a soulful, harrowing performance that compliments the guttural Death growl of R.K. Meanwhile, 'Coming Full Circle' features hushed, unsettling spoken word vocals and a chugging Doom riff that speeds up to a ferocious crescendo of anguish. A key part of Mistralth's sorrowful sound is the atmospheric use of synths throughout the album, adding a majestic hint of Gothic sadness to the Death-Doom intensity. 'Chains of Bastille', a crushing Death-Doom monster infused with inconsolable sorrow, pauses for a time, with just the plaintive sound of the synth playing out its tragic melody before the rest of the band are unleashed again. It's moments like that that elevate 'My Grief' from being a good, to being an excellent album.

One of the most finely realised expressions of sonic sadness I've heard in some time. If you're looking for a soundtrack to a long, dark winter's night of the soul, this may very well be what you're looking for. Masterful, mesmerising melancholia.

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Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. No Tomorrow
2. Feel Nothing
3. I Survive
4. Existence
5. Coming Full Circle
6. Left Behind
7. Chains Of Bastille

Duration : Approx. 40 minutes

Visit the Mistralth bandpage.

Reviewed on 2017-11-22 by Nick Harkins
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