Recorded and engineered by Mesmur. Cover art from Ukrainian painter Vladislav Cadaversky. Released in collaboration with Solitude Productions (Russia) and Aesthetic Death (UK), Chthonic (2023) on Friday 14 April 2023.
Chthonic (2023) is the fourth album from death/funeral doom metal band Mesmur.
Initially started in 2013 as a side project of Jeremy Lewis and John Devos, Mesmur is a collection of musicians from Australia, Italy and USA with a shared artistic goal to create immersive and unpredictable death/funeral doom metal.
The album’s title is based on the Greek word for ‘underworld’. Where the band’s previous albums have explored themes of cosmic entropy and earthly apocalypse, Chthonic (2023) looks to the spirit world for inspiration. Formed as a collection of paranormal horror tales, it speaks of fabled entities making contact through the veil of sleep, summoning prey to subterranean depths, or haunting a post apocalyptic landscape.
Restaurants often play upbeat, energetic songs to unconsciously encourage their diners to eat faster, increasing turnover. That’s the kind of music I thought I needed this week, with a lot going on at work and at home. Instead… well, this has clearly been the week for listening to music that carries a constant sense of foreboding and unease, with riffs and melodies that straddle the line between accessibility and obscurity.
And yet, this is perhaps the album that I needed. The week began a little frantically. I initially felt irritated listening to this slow, haunting dirge, but as it slowly sank into my unconscious, I slowed down and embraced the calm dissonance.
Musically, the album continues the trajectory of Mesmur’s previous works striking a careful balance between melody and dissonance. Crushing doom riffs are overlain with ethereal synths and cavernous vocals to build a dark and vivid atmospheres, resulting in an album that is both beautifully eerie and vibrant.
While my friend Steve Lawson‘s music has been described as “the soundtrack to the day you wish you’d had”, this album has offered me the soundtrack I’ve needed for the day I’ve had. The long, slow, ponderous, dissonant and ethereal melodies have soothed my anxious mind and allowed me to breathe a sigh of relief, not only bringing me back to earth but depositing me in the underworld.
Review score: 85%
Anubi Press contacted me inviting me to preview Mesmur’s latest album, thank you. I have no connections to either Anubi Press or Mesmur. I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Anubi Press, and to Mesmur for continuing to create fresh, exciting new music.