Between Land and Sky

From the label that brought you last year’s excellent Dauþuz album, Monvmentvm, comes the debut of Finnish trio Marrasmieli (‘death of the mind’) and you can go ahead and block a spot for your 2020 year end list, because this is going to be on it.

This isn’t just a good album, or a great album, it potentially has classic album written all over it and one of those best of the decade type albums. And it’s only February of 2020 for fuck’s sake. It’s that good.

Imagine if that cover above had a black metal sound track, a sound track that conveyed the still majesty of that river, the rugged beauty of those mountains or the deep hues of that magnificent sky. Between Land and Sky is that soundtrack.

With one foot firmly planted to the sort of melodic,  atmospheric, epic and ‘cascadian’/ foresty black metal like Falls of Rauros, FenWinterfylleth, Vindland, Vallendusk and such, Marrasmieli bring a distinctly Finnish energy sheen to the proceedings. Think a Viking sense of austere grandiosity portrayed by the likes of fellow Finns Havukruunu  and Moonsorrow, and maybe even a little Bathory here and there (especially the thunderous start to “Karakorum”and “The Ardent Passage”).

The album has 6 songs; 1 intro and 5 songs that range from 6 to 10 minutes. The 5 songs are all utterly perfect, the riffs (sooooo many good ones), the vocals, (there are no cleans here) the melodies, the percussion, the production – all perfect. But the highlight is the subtle use of the atmospherics, keys and choirs, which are the most evocative I’ve heard in years. Whether it’s the delicate flute and violin in “Embrace the Eternal”, the ethereal choirs in “Those Who are Long Gone” (which also features a fierce little blackened blast amid the majesty) and epic “Karakorum” (just check out the simply glorious transition about 7 minutes in), its all just perfect. So fucking perfect.

And that’s before I even get to the likes of the militantly regal “The Ardent Passage” with its early Bathory ish choirs or the utterly transcendental seafaring closer “Aallot”, (“Waves”), with a simply stunning closing third that might already be my favorite piece of music of 2020. The part around 9:30 or so gives me goosebumps every time and I want it to keep going. The album’s only downside is that it ends.

Like I said earlier, just go ahead and reserve a spot somewhere in the top 5 or so for this release come the end of the year. At least for black metal, this is going to be really tough to top, and to think this is the bands debut and they are a young act with a stellar future ahead of them.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 3rd, 2020


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