Release date: 01 December 2019
Format reviewed: Digital Version
If you have read BAZ over the last couple of months, you have likely stumbled upon at least one of my reviews of MISERTUS. If not, let me give you some needed information: MISERTUS is a one-man Blackgaze project from Manchester, UK. The band emerged in August of 2019 with its debut album “Daydream”, which got a 9/10 from me. A month later, “Coil” followed, another album which again delivered some great and compelling Blackgaze dreamscapes, once more earning a 9/10. Now it is December, the year nears its end, and MISERTUS returns once again with another, his now third full-length (!) album of 2019, titled “Outland”. Is it another great output or are the creative lights starting to flicker? Let’s find out!
The cover-art of the album, where as “Coil” had been more earthy and closer to reality, again takes on a dreamy coloured tint, this time more blue than purple, but the dreamlike quality is definitely given, as was on the debuts artwork. “Vacillating Skies” opens the record with a peaceful ambient intro, before a slow and epic riff takes over. This riff in combination with some down-paced drums is a very effective opening for “Outland”. A typical MISERTUS-riff takes over soon, although generally a bit slower, as the screams also commence. A later part of the track introduces an odd, yet not out of place “synth-flute”, which complements its overall dreamy atmosphere. This element is given some space before it gets implemented into the overarching song-construct. A dissonant riff leads into a weirdly folky sounding guitar passage that again gets layered with the total instrumentation. This folk-like playing style very present here is another new element I found quite compelling. As it closes, the track slows down, feeling even more dreamlike than before, like flying in slow-motion and embracing the wind.
“Wanderer” utilizes a melancholic Blackgaze-riff, yet also includes some uplifting elements to the sound. This again shows MISERTUS’ using the oxymoronic sound of sadness and happiness as one. In a later, slower part, the folky guitar and synth-flute elements return to add some warmth amongst the cold dissonance. “Blue Spirits” seems to be a reference to the debuts “Red Ghosts”, a Yang to the debuts Yin perhaps. The track is intense as all hell from the get-go with thunderous blast-beats and tortured screams, a slower passage then introduces a very compelling synth texture. From here on out, the track gets increasingly melodic, before its climax dials up the intensity to 11 with fierce, pummelling blasts-beats and driving riffage. “Camphine” & “Oceanfold” are both solid tracks, combining the previously mentioned elements of the record to great effect as well as providing some beautiful melodies and keyboard passages. The latter track also has constant tempo changes, some of which work better than others, as a few of them were to jumpy for my taste. The ones that worked for me added a progressive edge to the track. The title track, “Outland”, offers one of the best riffs the project has put out so far, having a real emotional impact on me. Complementary synth-lines, which get added as the track progresses further enhance the riff.
Now we come to my personal favourite track, the album closer: “Aether (A Distant Ember)” might very well be the best track MISERTUS has releases yet. Once again, same as on “Coil”, the final track of the album is the longest, this time at 9 ½ minutes! After a clean and melancholic intro, the riff starts: Howling, yet beautiful guitars are threaded throughout the songs runtime, change constantly occurs, there are quite a few progressive elements to this track. Around the halfway point, the track slows down until its at a complete stop. Then, only deep, frightening and uncanny guitar strokes ring through the void. This specific sound actually reminded me of some parts from CELTIC FROST‘s “Monotheist”, which in my book is quite a compliment! A melody with doomy drums and deeper screams (than usual with MISERTUS) continues the track, before going through a metamorphosis and turning back to a more typical sound, yet still keeping a progressive edge. Finally, the track closes the album with an intense, epic and moving climactic riff.
As you may have read from my words, I was once again enthralled by MISERTUS on this latest release. “Outland” invites you on a journey through more and new dreamy soundscapes, keeping the vivid mix of sadness and hope alive throughout the entire runtime. The third release by the band is equal parts dissonant, dreamlike and otherworldly as it is melodious. While it may at points seem like “more of the same”, MISERTUS brings in some interesting and fitting new elements for another cohesive and worthy addition to its rapidly growing discography. 9/10 the trve Medvson
9/10 Epic Storm
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