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Misanthur – Ephemeris Award winner

by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 28 December 2021, 6:25 AM

MISANTHUR is a Polish black metal band who formed in 2013. "Ephemeris," is their full length debut but they also have two demos and a split under their belt. While this, as a whole, is black metal, "Ephemeris" is an album with non-metal elements in addition to having doom, sludge, Gothic, DSBM, ambient, and post into the mix. The atmosphere and production is a pure, ice cold void but will still burn. It has a raw feel to it but also enough clarity to enjoy what the listener will experience—-which is a wide variety of styles.

"Enter The Void," begins with deep bass and sorrow laced guitars, that mix black and doom together. Gothic tones ripple out across these dark waters and the baritone vocals go alongside them. Before the two minute mark, the song seems to wind down into clean tones before exploding with dissonant groove a rougher vocal style. The melodies from the guitars are dark and the bass is very much trance like. All this definitely grabs hold tightly to the senses. The middle portion is slow jazz influenced before heading back into the groove—-very cool approach. The song flows into the next track, a somewhat short instrumental called "Dense Mental Trace." Much of the previous songs musical themselves carry over, making the first two songs great companion pieces.

"On The Heights Of Despair," is much more black metal oriented but a lot of the guitar parts play these weird little melodies that sound depressed yet adventurous—regardless, depressing never sounded so good.  The vocals alternate between shrieks and cleans—both are as equally effective in carrying on the mood of the song. "Essence," is the exact opposite, at least musically with a different approach vocally as well. This track has a heavy electronica feel to it and is definitely more about soundscapes and setting a mood than showmanship. I find the song to be interesting and perfectly placed in the album to break up any potential monotony although this album does not have that problem.

"Black Clouds And No Silver Linings," is a slow, atmospheric dirge that seeps around like a miasma. The subtle ambient tones work great in highlighting all this and help foreshadow the cleaner sections after the five minute mark. The song speeds up near the end, throwing in a nice surprise that finishes the song off nicely. The title track is pure torture! The clean and heavy tones sort of swirl together with the vocals mixing on top of them. The effect is that of a song that is engrossing even at its melancholic, downtrodden speed and atmosphere. The song changes but very subtle, as the clean vocals and deeper instrumentation take over near the end. One of my favorites on the album!

The buildup on "The Serpent Crawls" is pushed forward into the heavy but quiet tones; this song feels very world building. This world crashes and burns as the riffs and blackened tear it up. At times this one is more black metal but other times more reserved and methodical especially the later half. "Crush the Stone with the Sea," is the final track and tempo is slightly more upbeat but the mood seems to rise and fall like, well, the sea. After the three minute mark, blackened screams pierce this watery void and the music drifts on along side this unique current. This is a song of storms and treacherous conditions but it isn't bombastic—the languished approach actually makes it seem all the more real.

MISANTHUR's "Ephemeris" is a varied, brave and uncompromising statement of underground music. I can't recommend this album enough. As far as I’m concerned, it is a perfect.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Enter the Void
2. Dense Mental Trace
3. On the Heights of Despair
4. Essence
5. Black Clouds & No Silver Linings
6. Ephemeris
7. The Serpent Crawls
8. Crush the Stone with the Sea
Hellscythe – Synths, Vocals, Guitars, Fxs, Drums, Programming
Draugr – Bass, Drum programming
Record Label: Season of Mist


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