The sludge scene is very active in France, with bands like Year of No Light and Dirge releasing surprisingly, relevant post-metal, and other bands like Carne and Overmars (RIP) churning out music that pays more debt to the genre’s roots in hardcore. Newly established band Mur, hailing from Paris, falls into this latter camp, and releases what appears to be its eponymous debut EP. Jumping into this one not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised by a mature, if somewhat derivative, sound.

After a misleading burst of furious black metal, opener “Hugo Suits” delivers what will be the band’s main sound, a curious industrial style of hardcore. There is a heavy Neurosis vibe, especially in the vocals, and some of the slower passages bear a similar weight and claustrophobic dissonance. The riffs are complemented by some Genghis Tron type synths. The breakdown 3 minutes into the opener reveals the quality of this band; breakdowns are commonplace, but this one punishes. It doesn’t overstay its welcome, and the variety of speeds serve well to hold the listener’s interest.

“Hermetic Party” continues with the Neurosis influence, sounding particularly like Enemy of the Sun or Through Silver in Blood. “Feed the Swamp” pounds out a Meshuggah-like riff underneath electronic squeals before returning the band’s signature sound. A slight progressive/black element finds its way into the more technical noodling of “I’d Rather Have You Dead Than Pregnant.” This blend is really where Mur carves out a unique sound, avoiding clone status.

The synth sounds complement the riffs surprisingly well, for example, especially at the beginning of “Dominance.” The scant ambient touches only serve to connect the songs; they don’t draw attention to themselves. Some of the songs have an industrial feel, but it never becomes repetitive or machine-like in the way of Godflesh. The hardcore ethic is strongly evident on this release. The music is dense; there is not one wasted moment.

For those who prefer sludge that leans toward the more abrasive, aggressive side of Neurosis, this EP is a tasty morsel of nostalgia. At this point, the Neurosis influence colors the experience a little too heavily, but there is some true quality here. The songs are well written, engaging, and show lots of promise. It’s also a welcome change to listen to a band rooted more in the oft-neglected hardcore side of the genre, rather than aping the atmospheric/post-metal thing that’s been done to death.

Looking forward to hearing more.


[Visit the band's website]
Written by J. D. Anderson
June 17th, 2014


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