I was a bit surprised to find that Spain’s Mistweaver were releasing a new album this year, mainly due to the fact that the band called it quits back in 2017. Unfortunately for us, Swansong, the band’s sixth and ultimately final album is exactly that, a swansong for the group, that founder/guitarist/vocalist Raúl Weaver saw fit to make sure would see the light of day. I have to say that I’m glad that he did though, as Swansong is eleven tracks of some pretty tasty melodic blackened power death metal. Yeah, it doesn’t really roll off the tongue very well as far as genre taglines go, does it?

Maybe we should just refer to Mistweaver as Mediterranean metal of death. Not the greatest description either, but it works. Seriously though folks, the sounds of Greece and Portugal alone, lay deeply infused into Mistweaver‘s sound and throughout the entirety of Swansong, albeit mixed with a bit of Scandinavian fields and even a touch of the ‘ol United Kingdom. Sounds like a shit load of stuff going on, no? Honestly, it is; somehow though Mistweaver manages to keep things mostly fresh and interesting as well as staying astray from becoming too convoluted for its own good.

Album opener,“Deathbound”, does a fine job at setting things up with an upbeat  and engaging banger. It’s pretty much straight to the point with its equally and combined driving performances from the the guitars, drums and synth work alike. The three do a great job at working together as one. The track hits with a bit of Cradle of Filth-like flair amongst its more obvious Grecian influences, and the guitar leads are fantastic.

“At the Gates Beyond” follows things up more than nicely, with a great influential mix of Rotting Christ, Astarte, and even Blind Guardian. In fact that catchy, driving main riff of the track pulls heavily from R.C.‘s Triarchy of the Lost Lovers era, damn near plagiaristically so. The early album highlight has an upbeat drive to it with some nice symphonics and some epic female vocals layered in with the death growls of the chorus, not to mention some terrific guitar leadwork to boot. “The Death Came to Me” follows in the field of highlights with its groove infused death metal riffage that harkens to a Pat O’Brien/Nevermore/Cannibal Corpse type of spirit in certain places. Continuing to impress with its Rotting Christ influential groove is “Unhallowed Ground”, this time recalling that mid double-oughts period of of the rotting ones. The choppy mid-section of the track is as catchy as the clap and the drum fills really help to open things up some, as does the bass being audible along with the subtle interplay of dynamics achieved between the guitar and the keyboards.

A slight vibe of old school Amon Amarth rears its head in “Suicide”. With a bit of a burlier edge to it, the song pushes towards dynamics and atmosphere, again achieved through the guitar licks and key synths and how they play off each other in building something solid as opposed to each being pomp and flash. Etherial doom with subdued female vocals taking center stage marks more than half of “The Forest of Lost Souls” before giving way to quite an endearing beatdown of epicness and brutality in the sounds of its blackened power pagan death. “Echoes from the Past” was one that caught me a little off guard at first. The track begins with a softer acoustic picking that quickly morphs into a punky aggro-death flavored riff of chunky fun. It hits more like a Rogga Johansson/Kam Lee affair. Not only is the song catchy and entertaining, but the key/synth work totally adds a great extra layer as well as the drums providing some fantastic blasts and fills when needed, and more importantly, knowing when they’re not needed.

Album title track, “Swansong” seems a tad safe but no less satisfying with its flair of Hypocrisy/Peter T. flavorings intertwined with a reminiscent vibe of Orphaned Land. Quite stellar even if it doesn’t color outside the lines. While “Embraced by the Cold Darkness” and “Beyond Death’sThreshold” both continue to play a bit on the safer side of things as well, the tracks both do a damn fine job at providing punishing rhythms, fat riffage, wonderful dynamics and atmosphere, and quality drum work. Yeah, they lean heavily to the Astarte/Rotting Christ territories of metaldom, but how can you go wrong in recalling a style such as that? Album closer, “Afterlife” is a fantastic set of notes to end on. The continued Grecian flavor prevails, after a Spanish acoustic guitar intro starts the song off. Upbeat thrashings of deathly riffing cascades with some magnificent melodies and a beat down of tempos collide with propelling drums that are just as important to Mistweaver‘s sound as any other element to be found within the band. The track ends Swansong, and ultimately, the band itself on a quality highnote.

Though I mentioned “At the Gates Beyond” being one of Swansong‘s highlights, truth be told, all of the album’s material stands tall against one another, with each successfully obtaining its own identity and set of dynamics and atmospherics. I hadn’t really planned on touching upon every single one of Swansong‘s tracks, especially since it really is unneeded and overkill-ish bloat. I could have wrapped all of this up into a single paragraph and stated that Swansong sounds like a conglomeration of Rotting Christ, Astarte, Moonspell, Blind Guardian, and Gates of Ishtar. But then I thought, “Eh, fuck it”… I’ve been out of the consistent reviewing game for a bit and I could use the practice. Besides, if Mistweaver is truly done, then this may very well be some of the last press coverage thrown their direction.

Admittedly, Swansong isn’t necessarily going to win any best of rewards, nor does it score extra points for originality, but the album is far, far from drivel and is truly satisfying on many levels, two of which are that Swansong comes off in an honest and genuine display. It’s a shame that Mistweaver decided to forgo the future, but hails to the guys for giving us one last hoorah.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
May 12th, 2021


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