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Miasmata – Unlight: Songs Of Earth And Atrophy

Unlight: Songs Of Earth And Atrophy
by Ian Yeara at 30 April 2021, 5:57 AM

Back to my regularly scheduled Black Metal promos it is. I get a decent amount of Power and Prog Metal promos, but somehow it always seems like there are twice as many new Black Metal albums coming out as all the other genres combined. Probably just because it's a pretty low-cost genre of music to make, but it's an interesting observation to me nonetheless.

MIASMATA is a pretty straightforward Black Metal band from Dunedin, Otago New Zealand. At first listen this album seems like really generic Black Metal, mostly second wave early 90s EMPEROR inspired kind of stuff. As I kept listening to it though, I never found myself bored by it. There have been so many Black Metal albums I've reviewed that are fine; you know nothing bad, but maybe a little repetitive. This album is definitely repetitive, but they still do a good job with it, aided by the excellent quality of production. It's got that raw black metal sound, but the mix is perfectly clear and it sounds really good. This is one of those albums that really embraces the tropes of it's genre, but it doesn't bother me because they execute those tropes really well, and keeping the album to 40 minutes keeps it from being any kind of slog to sit through.

So interestingly, this band is labeled as being Black and Heavy Metal, now it mostly sounds like Black Metal, but there are some interesting moments. For example, in the song "Artifacts" there are moments that almost remind me of Power Metal, and for a hot second there were some riffs that brought BLIND GUARDIAN to mind. If anything it's a little disappointing that the almost Power Metal elements pretty much vanish after that, but still it was neat.

The rest of the album proceeds pretty much as expected, blazing riffs and thunderous blast beats, all the classic Black Metal sounds. The parts I like best are when they get a little more melodic, there are some really subtle background synth parts that really enhance the overall texture and on "A Blaze Of Starfire" there's a riff that almost sounds like an electric violin, or it could just be a guitar played a certain way. Regardless it sounds great and this song has more complex and technical riffs than the previous songs.

"Bloodmoon" doesn't really stand out as much as the previous two, but the main riff is surprisingly melodic and so this one is at least fairly memorable as far as these things go. For having such a grandiose name I thought "Highest Mountain, Deepest Grave" would be more interesting. Maybe I just don’t like Thrash enough, it’s not bad or anything, just not one of the more memorable songs on the album.

The final song on the other hand does live up to the quality of its name. This one reminds me of more grandiose Black Metal bands I’ve loved over the years, it’s still got that heavy metal flair, but with the melodic guitar lines here it almost reminds me of AMON AMARTH riffs. Really though it sounds like this band wanted to write Atmospheric Black Metal with more of a traditional metal edge which works well for the most part. "Spell of Unlight" reminds me of bands like FUATH, SOJOURNER and maybe DRUDKH. It’s a really solid song and a great way to end the album, I definitely recommend this song above most of the rest.

I liked this album enough for what it is, as I think I hinted at it seems a little limited. For example, I thought "Artifacts" had some really interesting moments that almost bordered on proggy, but then most of the album is pretty straightforward. I liked "A Blaze Of Starfire" a lot and the final track, but I wish they would have done more songs like the three I just mentioned, outside of those three I didn’t find the rest especially memorable. For a debut album though this is still really good and Mike Wilson should be proud, I’m really looking forward to more content from this one man project and I bet the next album will be even better.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 6
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Caverns Of Malachite
2. Artifacts
3. Seven Hundred Steps
4. A Blaze Of Starfire
5. Bloodmoon
6. Highest Mountain, Deepest Grave
7. Spell Of Unlight
Mike Wilson – All instruments, vocals
Record Label: Naturmacht Productions


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Edited 30 November 2022

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