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Merihem – Incendiary Darkness Award winner

Incendiary Darkness
by Thomas Kumke at 14 August 2022, 3:32 AM

MERIHEM are an international band with their members coming from Italy, US, and The Netherlands. The experimental Black Metal outfit release their debut full-length album. “Incendiary Darkness” was mixed and mastered by D.G. at BeastCave, Italy. It has a length of almost 38 minutes, and it was released via Italian label I, Voidhanger Records which is specialized in Experimental, Black, and Death Metal. There was no official video release so far.

As the album has a playing time of around 38 minutes, each of the five songs has a considerable length. “Crimson Communion” starts with an atmospheric intro, before it transitions into a Black Metal track driven by grim guitar riffing, blast-beat attacks, and lead guitar parts which maintain the dark atmosphere. The growling vocals are versatile, covering most parts of the guttural range. The growls have background vocal support, which intensify the atmosphere. The tempo changes throughout the track. Many parts are blast-beat parts at insane speed, but there are also changes towards a measured and slow pace. As the track goes on, the riffing, lead guitar parts, bass, and drums become more and more bombastic. “Crimson Communion” is a good way to start the album as it sets the framework for the things to come.

The Geburah Apozem” has a frantic start with the guitars and drumming. The vocals sound straight from the abyss. The song is pure chaos, the guitars and the drums seem to be disconnected from each other during the first part of the song, and particularly the drumming is a relentless blast-beat hammering. “The Geburah Apozem” gets a bit more structure after the first three minutes playing time as it slows gradually down the tempo for the middle part of the track. There is a break after around six minutes, where a blood-freezing lead guitar part takes over. The song transitions eventually back into the fast-paced hammering. The vocals keep the track expertly together and are the song highlight.

Three Times A Legion” starts with a monotone guitar sequence at blistering pace. Again, each instrument seems to follow its own pattern until the vocals kick-in and give the track a textural framework. “Three Times A Legion” is another very dark song with grim melodies. The break comes after around four minutes where the tempo slows down and the track becomes more atmospheric in particular through the additional background vocals. Based on the melodic theme of the break, there are tempo changes throughout the remainder of the song with highly paced parts as well as mid-tempo parts.

Actors Of Omega” starts with a huge riff and a blast-beat thunderstorm. The riffing has some progressive features, and the lead guitar parts maintain the grim atmosphere of the album. “Actors Of Omega” is a bit more structured compared to the other songs, at least during the first part of the track. The break comes after around three minutes, but the slow parts are kept relatively short. I have the impression that mayhem starts really after the break as MERIHEM let all hell break loose. Having said this, the final part is a smart piece of songwriting as “Actors Of Omega” are somehow kept within the initial melodic frame.

The final “Inhospitus” continues with the merciless pummeling at insane pace. The growls are predominantly low at the beginning, but during the course of the track, Tiuval utilizes his full vocal range. The riffing and the lead guitars have again some progressive elements. The clean background vocals are dominant and give “Inhospitus” an extra (grim) dimension. The break at slow tempo comes relatively late and is very short, so “Inhospitus” is a frantic hammering until the end.

MERIHEM release a very good debut album. “Incendiary Darkness” is all about the darkness in sound and how MERIHEM deliver this grim sound. The guitars provide an excellent sound framework, the drumming is a relentless hammering, while the vocals are the overarching element. MERIHEM were capable of bringing this all smartly together which is evidence for good songwriting. The album is well produced. “Incendiary Darkness” is modern Black Metal at a very comprehensive level and Black Metal fans will love the debut album of a promising band.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Crimson Communion
2. The Geburah Apozem
3. Three Times A Legion
4. Actors Of Omega
5. Inhospitus
Tiuval – Vocals
YhA – Guitars
Nero ­ Guitars
P.R. – Drums
Beast – Bass
Record Label: I,Voidhanger Records


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