Sweden‘s Mist of Misery are on the verge of releasing their debut album Absence through Black Lion Productions towards the end of August and I have to say this is an excellent piece of music.
Forming as a duo in 2010 the band did not take long to release a demo that same year, only for it to be redone the following year and released as their debut album Bleak Autumn 2011. This was a fine piece of music and showed the band had much potential on offer.
In 2014 the Temple of Stilled Voices EP was released. For this release mainstay Mortuz Denatus recruited Erik Molnar who also shares axe duties with the wonderful Hyperion, with Anders Peterson also from Hyperion joining the band for keyboard duties the following year and thus Absence was born… For those unfamiliar with the band I find the metal archives description symphonic black metal being slightly misleading as the music is much more atmospheric and even ambient based as opposed to majority of bands that fall under this tag which usually are of a more orchestral based nature.
The album begins with Melancholic Thoughts a keyboard driven piece which is fittingly titled and sets the tone for much of the album with its mournful delivery. The first track proper is Euthanasia, once again gracing the listener with a sombre ambient intro only to be shattered when the guitars and drums come crashing in around the 2 minute mark. At this point I was surprised at the quality and clarity of the instruments, drums in particular having a great tone and balance in the mix.
Most of the tracks are delivered in a similar fashion, tempo shifting from mid-paced to blast beats with ease. The tone of the music also changes on a regular basis, melancholic, triumphant, uplifting, epic, all present and give the album an excellent sense of variety with nothing overstaying its welcome or becoming repetitive. This theme continues through most of the tracks which are separated by 4 well placed instrumental pieces giving an excellent flow to the album. Songs such as the album’s title track contain some stunningly beautiful guitar melodies towards the end and it is moments such as this lift the album into a whole new level, gracefully written an executed. The track Mist of Misery could easily fit into one of the later Windir albums. It is full of that sorrowful epic beauty Valfar and co were so adored for not to mention I am a sucker for those ‘choir’ like keys in the background and they are all over this album giving it a real ethereal feel.
Absence should do for Mist of Misery as to what Seraphical Euphony done for Hyperion. It is another slice of excellent Swedish steel, a scene which seems to be on the rise once more. The whole package is a joy to the ears, melodic and infectious and should have the same appeal to the metal world as their label and bandmates Hyperion successfully conquered. Now that I think of it this is not symphonic black metal, this is majestic black metal…
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