…of Men in Black (and White)

Mavorim/Meuchelmord – Memento Mori (Germany, 2016) 

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Despite the lo-fi, and not always flawless production this obscure split album is one of the most intense offers that came across my radar lately.
At first glimpse it may seem an all blast beats-harsh screams-chainsaw riffs solution but if you come closer, there’s a whole world beyond. Waiting for you to be discovered.

Mavorim (one man army from Germany) relies in a Dark Ambient/Raw Black Metal territory. However some small folk-ish elements are audible as well. P.H. (the project owner) managed indeed to deliver a classic-style record yet amusing enough in its “regularity”.
Ein dunkler Ort is my favourite one from Mavorim‘s offer to the split. Being it the longest and intricate one. Also the mesmerizing synth interlude (Nije) really caught my attention.

Meuchelmord‘s share takes place in a depressive dimension instead. Everything turns bleak and gloom (nor we had happy time with the first batch of songs), and no glimpse of hope remains. I did appreciate the evolution that Cernunnos (Meuchelmord‘s mastermind) is imprinting to his creature. The addition of audio samples and spoken vocals possibly adds even more misery to the songs.

Memento Mori definitely appears to be loyal to that proto black metal cliché with an utterly noisy sound, an all black and white graphic department and corpsepaint. While I don’t want to complain about the first one I need to reprove the latter. Maybe in 2016 the time is right to leave behind (a little bit, at least) that kind of fashion. It doesn’t stir anymore, in my humble opinion. All of this doesn’t wash away the satisfying flavour of underground though.
In fact, sometimes I listen to mainstream records all shiny and flawless, but most of the time they’re not able to convey anything to me. While Memento Mori does have a soul – it has flaws of course, but they make it “human” – and it’s capable of accompanying your darkest winter nights.

Hyperion – Seraphical Euphony (Sweden, 2016) 

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Sweden’s Hyperion blew me away with their full length debut. 9 tracks of melodic and violent Black/Death Metal done the Scandinavian way.

Talking about Dissection is due here (if you play this genre you can hardly not be influenced by them). But Hyperion also have an epic vein that clearly screams Wintersun.
In some songs, like the title track Seraphical Euphony, the epic-ness is even more present, something à la Dragonforce without the senseless speed exaggeration. Also the reminiscence of the Swedish Melo Black masters Dawn is neatly achieved and remarkable as well. A song like Novus Ordo Seclorum standouts for the anger and fury of its playing and the nihilistic mist.
Possibly the influences infused in this Seraphical Euphony are even too many. This record doesn’t always sound as tight and coherent as its noble influences do. However, it isn’t too much of a problem, even if it could be disappointing at first.

A nice addition to the cocktail are the exciting guitar solos, which demonstrate the remarkable attitude of Hyperion for crafting something fresh. Drums hit quite hard as well, still coming off as a bit flat and emotionless during the whole album. However the lack of emotion has been compensated by speed and accuracy.

All in all, Hyperion‘s work is an earth shaking evidence of northern black art with great potential, few weaknesses and way more good staff to cherish.
Summarising this whole shit up: Excellent debut!

Hamnskifte – Födzlepijnan (Sweden, 2010) 

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And let’s wrap up this brief digression about Black Metal with the strangest creature out of these three.

In fact we can’t properly use the term black metal here. Hamnskifte is a dark jam of bleak emotions. Dark Ambient, Noise, Drone, Folk and Black Metal are all blended so carefully well that you won’t be able to tell where one influence ends and the other one kicks in. Everything works neatly at perfection, slowly crafting a pure opus of darkness.

I’d say this is one of those albums I love for the gentle way of catching you in it has. It’s hypnotising and mellow, ever-changing but never getting off the rails.
And I do realise you’re probably gonna end up disoriented by me describing Födzlepijnan. But honestly, I can’t do better (considering that I end up disoriented too most of the times I hear it).

If I were you, I’d play this one. You’ll see everything become clearer.
Possibly the actual best record I found these very last weeks!

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About Matteo "Teo" Gruppi 120 Articles
TSL co-founder, co-owner, editor, CEO, reviewer, interviewer and writer. Basically I do a lot of stuff and I can’t get anything done well. I was born in 1991 and started loving music since 1981. Got my very first band in high school and now I play as a lonely dumbass in 3 projects: Chiral, Il Vuoto and |||. I listen to every kind of music as long as it is good and intense. Favourite genres include: everything as long as it’s good! (but also folk, black metal, 70-80’s rock and post-rock).

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