Released: December 2014
Mesmur do not want to entertain you, they want to punish you. Perversely, this American band’s dedication to suffering is extremely satisfying – they are experts in pain. The opening track begins with what sounds like a dentist’s drill whirring behind slow, evil guitars and foreboding drums. From that point onwards, you are in a world of hurt.
Fans of Evoken or Mar de Grises will find plenty to admire in Mesmur’s excellent self-titled debut, but this North Carolina outfit add their own distinctive personality to the funeral doom genre with some impressive flourishes. Unlike some funeral bands, this album does not take the best part of a month to get through – the five songs are over in around 50 minutes. And yet Mesmur never rush; they allow their music to breathe and grow like death in a petri dish.
This is misery on a grand scale. Searing, feral lead guitars duel and writhe against a backdrop of four-stringed torture, while Chris G (Orphans Of Dusk) unleashes his pleasingly hot-blooded growl over fascinating drum patterns. And, throughout, the synth work of guitarist/songwriter Yixya (also of progressive black metal loons Dalla Nebbia), are blissfully sinister enough to freeze the red stuff in your veins.
The songs do not abandon you to darkness entirely – they twist and chug, explode and explore, constantly finding new ways to release the band’s fire-eyed demons. From the agonised, creeping death metal of ‘Lapse’ – a song that overextends a little (these funeral dudes have a tendency to over-indulge, y’know) – to the bleakness of the 12-minute ‘Abnegate’, a crawling, standard epic that does not quite showcase the full scope of the band’s talents, this is an album of intensity and curiosity. The devil is in the details.
‘Mesmur’ is a high-quality doom metal release that welcomes you to a secret world of torment and makes you feel right at home. Packed with seething darkness and beautiful keyboards – and featuring the kind of awesome artwork that you can savour while the music unfolds – it comes highly recommended.