2014 certainly won’t be remembered as a banner year for the most deathly of doom metal. Not that the most despondent of metal’s subgenres have ever been highly adored and prolific, but they seem especially forgotten by all this year. That makes this late entry courtesy of Code666 Records all the more welcome, and surprising. Without a demo or even a Metal Archives listing, Mesmur appears to have sprung up fully-formed from the North Carolina soil on this self-titled debut.

Now, I’ve been into this miserable music since My Dying Bride was considered avant garde and Thergothon was called black doom, yet I still can’t tell you exactly where the line gets drawn between death/doom and funeral doom. But, I’d say Mesmur falls into the latter category. That often means songs that overstay their welcome and albums that outlast my patience. Fortunately Mesmur avoids funeral doom’s pitfalls…most of the time.

By funeral doom standards, Mesmur‘s runtime of 53 minutes makes it like a grindcore album. So, now you can have that The Lord of the Rings trilogy marathon and still enjoy some funeral doom in the same day instead of one or the other. However, with a total of just 5 tracks, you still get some fairly lengthy songs, which works better for some than others.

The first thing you’ll notice with opener, “Deprivation” is that this is very much a modern recording built upon everything that has developed in the genre over the past two decades; there’s no old school pandering here. Keyboard and subtle electronic elements permeate, but don’t overwhelm as the powerful, harrowing vocals of Chris G from Aussie death/doomsters Orphans of Dusk (who also released some great music this year) lead the way through the darkness. The production is clean, but satisfyingly thick and meaty. Indesinence and Evoken immediately come to mind. “Lapse” then starts with an ominous rumble reminiscent of Celtic Frost at their slowest or Winter at their fastest. After a brief ambient break, the track turns into an exercise in building tension, like the sounds of a beast rising from the abyss. Unfortunately, we never get to see the beast (funeral doom pitfall #1: buildup with no release). Instead we get the album’s most funereal track, “Abnegate.” Your mileage my vary, but its repetitive plodding lasted about 3 times too long for me (funeral doom pitfall #2: a song to nowhere). Thankfully it’s followed up by the album’s strongest track, “Descend,” which shifts between different movements and is awash in some of their most haunting synth work. The tone for the majority of the album is more menacing than melancholic. That gets reversed on closer “Osmosis.” Its final moments are especially heartrending. It’s a great way to end the album, but after hearing that they have this in them, it makes me wish they used it more.

Despite its minor shortcomings, Mesmur echoes loudly through the darkest corridors of doom and shows a lot of promise from this new band. If 2014 felt as light on the slow and heavy for you as it has for me, this could be just what you need.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Adam Palm
January 16th, 2015


  1. Commented by: stiffy

    Mmmmm hmmmmm. Me like. Good review.

  2. Commented by: Adam Palm

    Thanks. I thought you might.

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