Release date: 04 August 2019
Country: United Kingdom
Format reviewed: Bandcamp Digital Version
A dichotomy of despair and hope…
While being on one of my regular bandcamp browses for new music, clicking through waves of TRVE KVLT black-and-white high contrast album covers, something different caught my view. It was a moody picture of a landscape with a strange, dreamy purple tint to it. Me, appreciating some good cover-art, clicked on the album. It was MISERTUS – “Daydream”. I started the first track and was caught off-guard with a, at first deafening, wall of sound. Once my ears adjusted themselves to what had just blasted into them, I quickly realized that this album is worth a review. So here I am, typing this.
MISERTUS is a one-man post-black metal / blackgaze project from Manchester, UK. Its first album “Daydream” was released on the 4th of August 2019 as a self-release and, at the time of me writing this, only appears in 34 people’s bandcamp collections, including my own… something that I want to change with this review!
“Waterfalls” starts off the album with a barrage of blast beats, guitars, synth ambiance and high, pained screams. This opening track will already reveal one of MISERTUS’ biggest strengths: Atmosphere. The whole album has an extremely dense and dreamlike atmosphere, enriched with a talent to contrast very hopeful, light guitar tones with pounding blast-beats and pain-ridden screams. The track also features regular changes in drumming, going from blast-beats to more melodic drum work, further demonstrating the juxtaposition of melancholia and hopefulness.
The confrontation of these two opposites continues with the second track, titled “Red Ghosts”. Here, the two concepts are embodied with layered guitars, one very light in tone, very present in the tracks foreground, while another, more in the background, is very dark & distorted and keeps going deeper and deeper. Supporting this is exquisite synth ambiance.
On “Canaan” I found the overall instrumentation to be very sad in tone, yet it still had that last drop of hope left, some light in between a web of utter darkness and sorrow, this truly reminded me of fellow blackgaze project SADNESS! On this track the synth also comes into play very well to support that ongoing wall of sound that “Daydream” sustains throughout its runtime. The song then blends fluidly into “Radiance”, where motives of the previous track are taken and changed up in a very compelling way.
Next, in the track “Duskwinds” is where one of my very few complaints come in: Here, a very abrupt tempo change occurs, which took me out of the experience for a short time. However, thereafter follow a few great melodic guitar parts, that could very well be from one of the newer HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY albums, this then completely turned my previously dampened opinion on the track! “Fragility” then follows, where quieter, melodic song-writing is explored further, while not fully making up the track. The more intense parts again reminded me of SADNESS in sound.
The next track, titled “Further”, features very prevalent keyboards, the dreamlike atmosphere often attributed to the blackgaze-genre really shines here. The song also has a very seamless progression, overall, it feels a lot more progressive and post-rock infused than the tracks that came before. “Further” felt like a journey to me, while some parts of the song accompany you through the track, lots of change occurs throughout its runtime. After a really thorough listen, a comparison that sprung to my mind regarding this track was that it kind of sounds like a black metal spin on a CULT OF LUNA song. I mean this in the best way possible, this track ended up my personal favourite of the album!
The closing track “Outward” again features very prevalent synth and starts to slow down the record a bit, while still keeping lots of energy. The song also has a “space-out” vibe to it, a very fitting end for “Daydream”.
This album was a real surprise to me and it touched me emotionally. The album explores two extremes of human emotion, despair and hope, and even manages to combine them, simultaneously touching on both sides of that spectrum. MISERTUS is a project that I will follow with great expectations going into the future. I very much believe that we will hear more from this band and it will be just as good as, if not better than this album already is. Especially for a debut album, the quality of this album is astounding. If you don’t hesitate when hearing the words blackgaze or post-black metal, you have to give “Daydream” a listen! 9/10 by the trve Medvson
If you’re interested in some background info on this project and album, I also sat down and did an interview with Tomas, the man behind MISERTUS. It is also out now on the BAZ website. You can check it out here.
9/10 Epic Storm
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