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Merrimack - Omegaphilia

by Erika Kuenstler at 13 June 2017, 2:53 PM

One of the plus points of living in Germany is that you get inundated with Metal bands. All the time. Non-stop. So it’s not unusual for me to see upwards of at least 500 bands each year. But with such a weekly deluge of music, there are few performances that really stand out. Yet one tour emblazoned in my memory was several years back: MAYHEM were spreading carnage over Europe and were not to be missed. But opening for them was a French Black Metal band I’d never heard of before. Called MERRIMACK, their name somehow sounded like a happy Scotsman, and didn’t exactly conjure images of torment and depravity. I'm ashamed to say, but going on this information alone I honestly wasn’t really expecting much from their performance. Yet the solidly proved me wrong. To say I was blown away is an understatement; MERRIMACK delivered a ferocious onslaught of a show, and certainly proved themselves more than worthy of opening for such a monumental band.

With their last release dating all the way back to 2012, it’s been a while since we’ve heard from this French horde. But this year sees them back at long last, unleashing their fifth full length album “Omegaphilia” onto the world, featuring seven songs spanning just shy of three-quarters of an hour. “Cauterizing Cosmos” starts the album off with a deranged and twisted shamanic and ritualistic feel, which slowly gives way to a depressing morass-like melody, before swelling into a more aggressive sound. This sets the pace, leading the charge into the next song, “The Falsified Son” which has a distinct WATAIN sound to it. “Apophatic Weaponry” on the other hand is a slower and darker song, dragging you through the blackest pits of despair. Yet this is relatively short-lived, for at the pinnacle of the album we find “Gutters of Pain”, in which a maelstrom of a melody swirls around you in a vortex of razor-blades. This stands in stark contrast to the mellower dirge-like sounds encapsulated in “Sights in the Abysmal Lure”. The penultimate spot is taken by “Cesspool Coronation”, a dark and lugubrious opus that flows with a mucilaginous tempo, gradually building up to a climax before letting a more ethereal melody with take over, with a French spoken passage leading us to the end. And finally we have the closer “At the Vanguard of Deception”, which takes us into the frantic fray one final time. Frenzied guitar passages underline the urgent air, ending the album off on just as unsettling a note as it started on.

Overall, the album is well done, and the structure sound. Having said that, the production could have been better done, with the drums sometimes standing too far forward in the mix. A slightly clearer sound would have also given the music more bite, and would have lent it that much more venom. In terms of the song-writing and overall musicianship, there’s nothing revolutionary on this album. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing; although they don't really explore any uncharted territory, MERRIMACK nevertheless deliver a solid Black Metal release whilst avoiding sounding cliché or jaded. If you’re looking for a decent dose of unadulterated Black Metal with no unnecessary frills, you really could do worse than checking out “Omegaphilia”.

Originality: 6
Song-writing: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Cauterizing Cosmos
2. The Falsified Son
3. Apophatic Weaponry
4. Gutters of Pain
5. Sights in the Abysmal Lure
6. Cesspool Coronation
7. At the Vanguard of Deception
Perversifier - Guitars
Daethorn - Bass
Blastum - Drums
A.K. - Guitars
Vestal - Vocals
Record Label: Season of Mist


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Edited 05 October 2022

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