Most releases I get sent for review nowadays are produced by a team of big name folks, mixed and mastered by a big name superstar and all done with pro tools and such. Not with the case of Mur, the one man atmospheric/folk black/doom project of Cam Sather. His third album, Heartworn was recorded in a solar powered hut in the middle of rural Minnesota warmed only by a wood stove.  Now that’s how you record an album of this style…

With central themes of nature’s cycles of migration, loss, and rebirth, Heartworn is a ambitious, contemplative, atmospheric album that shifts from acoustic, organic hues and gravelly, earthy throes of blackened doom. You can look to the likes of state mates Panopticon for a more raw/primal comparison or some other former and current Bindrune acts like Blood of the Black Owl. In fact, Mur would be a perfect fit on Bindrune (though Fragile Branch appear to have similar aesthetics and ideals).

Sound wise, it’s as you’d expect based on how it was recorded. It is pretty rough, but it has an authentic, natural aura that complements the overall themes and concepts. The guitars are grainy and gritty but have some depth, the vocals are distant howls and deep, primal growls and the drums have a raw tribal oomph.

“Hollow Bones In The Millstone” starts the album with a patient doom crawl and rather enthralling acoustic closeout that leads into “Cold Mountain”, a warm fireplace hymnal. “Wheel of Ashen Limbs” then shifts gears into a pure, buzzing but melodic black metal expulsion. Its back to more patient doom for the start of “Migration Incantation (As Fog, As Gold)”, but it turns into a more straight up black metal song then ends in a more acoustic, ambient fashion. And it’s really these sorts of moments where Mur and Sather shine, in part due to the production values which allow the more organic natural moments to breathe.

While I like the likes of “Wyeth Shroud” and “Snakeskin on the Lake”, I prefer “Limbless Frozen Monarch”,  “Go Beyond The Sea And Still Bring Light To The Underworld (You Overrich Star!)” which, while have the black and doom strains, feature more developed acoustic and contemplative moments that reel you into Sather’s cabin with the warm glow of fireplace embers mixing with the chill of a Minnesota winter in the air.   

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 14th, 2016


  1. Commented by: Mars

    Diggin’ this. The overcooked guitar distortion sound is great across the album.

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