Uncompromising, yet quite polished brutal death metal
A Swedish death metal band each of whose members is also part of 2-3 active projects is not a rare thing to see, keeping in mind every third person in that country seems to be a musician. And while side projects and supergroups often suck, this is not the case with Miseration.
Ex Scar Symmetry vocalist Christian Älvestam who is featured here, is famous for his ability to handle both death metal growls and clean singing with the same ease – an ability he chooses not to take advantage of in “The Mirroring Shadow”. The dude sticks to oldschool guttural vocals and together with the quite technically talented guitarist Jani Stefanovic (a pure Swede, just like Zlatan Ibrahimovic; he plays in a lot of bands like Am I Blood, Sins of Omission, DivineFire...) delivers us an all-out death metal album in the vein of Immolation and Hate Eternal.
“Dreamdecipher” opens the album with no compromise, going into blast beat mode from the very start before the song goes through a few crushing double bass moments and a short, yet quite melodic solo, for about two and a half minutes. This is how it is supposed to be done! Next is “Blueprinted Aeon Collapse” which is somewhat slower and crushing and features some more varied ideas. What happens around the 1:50 mark is one of the best combinations of double bass, a stop’n go riff and an eerie melody that I have ever heard. Talking of melody – there’s plenty of that on the album, without being anywhere near the Gothenburg sound, but still, songs like the title track definitely remind us of some of Hypocrisy’s ventures into more melodic territories.
“The Mirroring Shadow” also displays high quality production-wise. All the instruments and the vocals sound clear enough to make the multi-layered musical moments work, but in the same time the sound is thick enough to create the needed crushing effect. The songs are quite varied and full of ideas, but also quite short (the longest one being a few seconds short of five minutes) which helps them avoid getting boring. And this way the album finds balance between the extremes of the genre – be they brutal or melodic, and also finds its place among the coolest metal releases this year.
Verdict: 5 / 6
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