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Murmur - Murmur

by Salvador Aguinaga II at 11 March 2014, 12:56 AM

Since 2012, I’ve noticed at least one album is hyped in the Metal community from a relatively unknown group. So far in these two to three years arises a "tribe" from the same genre (loosely). This year we have MURMUR with a style that completely deviates from their debut and follows the cycle of Season Of Mist’s marketing scheme. This style happens to be Progressive Extreme Metal.

Now MURMUR, at first, was enticing. I listened to the sole track, “Water from Water” and initially was impressed by it. “Water from Water” on the surface seems to be innovative. It’s a track that doesn’t follow the conventional rules of songwriting. The neo-progressive fans seem to have a “reason” to act almighty and claim their idea of Black Metal is “evolving” and well, “progressing”. The fact of it is that “Water from Water” was the only track to exhibit any hint of Black Metal. And, it wasn’t even the authentic kind. It was more along the lines of KRALLICE and maybe SIGH.

The guitars exhibit a dissonant approach and minimally guide the rest of the music. The more I listened to it, the more avant-garde it sounded to me. The vocals further obscured my vision. Matthias Vogels had these soft cleans, cleans you’d expect from a Post-Hardcore group (crooning). The integrated quality of MURMUR was reminiscent of an archaic society with no foundation. I felt no premise for the inception of this self-titled album. If anything it glorified a change but in my humble opinion it felt intentionally influenced.

The drums were fifty-fifty. In other words, they’re bad but not bad as in terrible just horrendous songwriting. The drums are highly progressive and most likely everyone’s’ attention is drawn to it like a positively phototactic specimen. I also found the mixing to be a bit strange. The cymbals are the loudest in the mix. Vocals, guitars, atmosphere, and the other aspects of the drums (save the drum rolls) are neutral. The drum rolls end up being the softest/murkiest. For me, this predicament was somewhere in-between positive and negative. It was refreshing for the reason I’ve never heard anything mixed in this manner beforehand so in a way it was state-of-the-art. On the downside, it was difficult to hear all that Charlie Werber was playing. The vocals and guitars superseded the drums rolls and drowned its audibility. For this reason it sounded like a chaotic mess. On top of that, the cymbals and hi-hat were being played in odd time signatures that felt incomplete.

Upon further research, it appears that a year after the debut Charlie Werber joined the band. In that year, MURMUR released a split album with NACHTMYSTIUM. Within their single instrumental, “Shuttle I”, it was ascertainable MURMUR were procuring influences from somewhere else. But even within that yearly span Black Metal was still applicable. Werber’s current style could be seen. The differences are evident when Werber could interject his own peculiarity while still contributing an edge to the Black Metal style the band once had. As of recent, you could hardly call MURMUR Black Metal. It’s not progression of it either. Instead, it derives itself from the umbrella term “Extreme Metal” and progresses from that.

2 Star Rating

1. Water from Water
2. Bull of Crete
3. Al-Malik
4. Recuerdos
5. Zeta II Reticuli
6. Zeta II Reticuli, Pt. II
7. King in Yellow
8. When Blood Leaves
9. Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Part II (King Crimson Cover)
Charlie Werber - Drums
Matthias Vogels - Guitars, Vocals, Noise, Synths
Shane Prendiville - Noise, Guitars, Vocals, Synths
Alex Perkolup – Bass
Record Label: Season Of Mist


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