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Mistweaver – Swansong Award winner

Mistweaver
Swansong
by Andrew Graham at 05 April 2021, 4:24 PM

Seemingly risen from the dead after breaking up in 2017, Spanish melodic death metal masters MISTWEAVER make a grand return with Swansong, which cements their well-deserved place among the finest practitioners of this now well-populated genre. By their own admission, originally starting as a death/doom outfit, MISTWEAVER have come a long way since their inception back in 1997. A lot of growth and maturity has taken place and the cumulative effect of this is evident in an album that would have been a natural fit in the ‘90s melodic death metal scene and has certainly lost none of its potency.

Album opener “Deathbound” serves up a big, tasty dollop of everything to come: machine-gun drumming, chugging guitars, ethereal and atmospheric keyboards forming a vaguely dreamy backdrop against which brutal vocals emerge in the foreground. “At The Gates Of Beyond” is a wonderful piece of homage. The name is a strong clue, as the main riff bears more than a passing resemblance to AT THE GATES’ staple “Blinded By Fear” – it’s even in the same key! When it’s done tastefully, this kind of homage is a touching way for bands to pay their respects to their musical forefathers.

Speaking of which, “The Death Came To Me” has a definite Heartwork-era CARCASS aesthetic to it, right down to the delicious guitar solo work. As with the previous track, however, this is no mere imitation, more than capable of standing up in its own right. “The Forest Of Lost Souls” is of two parts: first a haunting and sorrowful acoustic piece with a folk feel about it, the second half a heavier development of this initial section which retains the mournful mood of the first half – a beautifully constructed spectacle. “Echoes From The Past” begins in a similar fashion, with an almost flamenco-esque acoustic guitar opening before giving way to more expertly crafted melodeath.

“Unhallowed Ground” gives bassist David an opportunity to show off with a little play, before the song progresses to an intro section reminiscent of that in MAYHEM’S “Freezing Moon”. Complex and complimentary keyboard layers, in addition to a minor guitar melody create a distinctly unsettling mood without descending into full-blown dissonance, which would seem out of place here. “Suicide” has a grand orchestral vibe going for it, paired with some of the most straightforwardly aggressive death metal portions on the album. Needless to say this is a crushing track! Then we come to title-track “Swansong”. For my money the best song on the album, it opens with an almost folksy melody on guitar that recurs throughout. After the two-minute mark we dive into more conventional melodeath riffage which, set against the elegant yet sparing backdrop of keyboards, really elevates this track to the heights of something truly special. The folksy melody comprises the final minute, complete with a very fitting narration of Revelation 6:8: “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” Cracking good stuff!

“Embraced By The Cold Darkness” features galloping guitar triplets that will be familiar to fans of DETHKLOK’S “Thunderhorse”, or indeed any song by IRON MAIDEN! “Beyond Death’s Threshold” features undoubtedly the tastiest tremolo riffage on the record, interspersed with masterfully crafted keyboard backdrops and sections reminiscent of early IN FLAMES material. The observant melodeath fans will be wondering where the near-obligatory acoustic track is, well it seems it was saved until last! “Afterlife” opens with said acoustic bombast before descending into the savage darkness one last time, and oh what a trip it is!

It’s truly a wonderful thing that this group got back together to do this album, for what an achievement it is! This release deserves a place among the premier acts representing contemporary melodic death metal – they are worthy practitioners to take up the torch of a new generation. I salute you, gentlemen!

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. At The Gates Of Beyond
2. Unhallowed Ground
3. Suicide
4. The Death Came To Me
5. The Forest Of Lost Souls
6. Swansong
7. Deathbound
8. Echoes From The Past
9. Embraced By The Cold Darkness
10. Beyond Death’s Thresholds
11. Afterlife
Lineup:
Raúl Weaver – Vocals and guitar
Eduardo Alonso Santos – Guitar
David De Pedro Mediavilla – Bass
Ramón Mur – Drums
Joaquín Velasco Navarro – Keyboards
Begoña Garcia – Additional vocals
Record Label: Necromance Records
     


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