Thursday, December 22, 2016

Mesarthim - The Great Filter

By Calen Henry. Mesarthim's first record, Isolate, took Bandcamp by storm in 2015, with little to no fanfare. The innocuous band and album name, accompanied by a NASA photo of the Horsehead Nebula hid a gem— cosmic black metal with a commitment to "spacey" that no other band has equaled. It mixed blistering black metal, throat shredding vocals and epic lead guitars
By Calen Henry.


Mesarthim's first record, Isolate, took Bandcamp by storm in 2015, with little to no fanfare. The innocuous band and album name, accompanied by a NASA photo of the Horsehead Nebula hid a gem— cosmic black metal with a commitment to "spacey" that no other band has equaled. It mixed blistering black metal, throat shredding vocals and epic lead guitars with synths straight out of a high school science video. Though polarizing, the approach works fantastically and Mesarthim's subsequent output schedule has been as astonishing as the quality and growth through the releases. In one year they released two full length records, two EPs, and a single.

Absence, the band’s sophomore album, didn't completely change their approach but did show them using more varied synths with more emulation of real instruments instead strictly bleeping and blooping. It gave the record a full symphonic feel that really rounded out their sound. The Great Filter furthers that approach but also varies the guitar technique making it, so far, the absolute best release by the band and my personal favourite EP of 2016.

The shift in guitar playing is subtle mainly adds one radically different technique, palm muting. The entire EP, a single 21 minute track is composed around a central palm muted guitar riff that is repeated through various movements and instruments. This riff is unlike anything else by Mesarthim and would sound right at home on a Moonsorrow record. That riff anchors all the other trademark Mesarthim tricks into an utterly engrossing long-form track. (it's only twice as long as many of the tracks on Isolate, mind, so not that long by the band's standards.)

The sheer variety of sonic palettes coupled with the deft handling of transitions makes the extreme musical culture clash all the more apparent and all the more natural. The central riff is shuffled from guitar to emulated string orchestra, and through some of the spacier synth patches occasionally giving way to full on electronic passages, trademark Mesarthim since Isolate. The best, and most far out transitions are done by way of a totally punk rock pick slide that shouldn't work at all but does, like Mesarthim as a whole.

The whole idea shouldn’t work, but not only does it work, it’s phenomenal. Also, like all Mesarthim releases, its $1 USD. Buy it. Space metal doesn't get any better.

Tagged with 2016, atmospheric black metal, Calen Henry, Mesarthim, trance
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