Tuesday 23 August 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: Mizmor - "Yodh"

By: TJ Kliebhan

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 12/08/2016
Label: Gilead Media

A.L.N. demonstrates a penchant for punishing the listener in so many different ways, but also establishes a talent for creating harmony layered within the chaos.

“Yodh” CS//DD//LP track listing:

1). Woe Regains My Substance
2). A Semblance Waning
3). The Serpent Eats Its Tail
4). Inertia, an Ill Compeller
5). Bask in the Lingering

The Review:

A.L.N. follows a long line of Pacific Northwestern musicians leading the charge for American Black Metal. The mysterious multi-instrumentalist from Portland, Oregon lends his talents to multiple projects including Hell and Urzeit who create unique blends of tumultuous black metal and doom metal. “Yodh” is the latest release from A.L.N. under the Mizmor (meaning "psalm" in Hebrew) moniker he uses for his solo-projects. With “Yodh”, A.L.N. makes a strong argument for Mizmor as his best musical project. After a four year gap between full length recordings, the project has returned stronger, focused, and more cathartic than ever.

“Yodh” is broken into five extended pieces that all have their share of A.L.N.’s ferocious growl, mesmerizing doom riffs, and suffocating abrasive climaxes. All five tracks are incredibly ambitious and while the track lengths can appear daunting “Yodh” does not suffer from any periods of self-indulgence or overkill, each sequence being equally as gripping as the last. These tracks feature multiple sequences that are woven in a way similar to seventies prog rock. What differentiates Mizmor from other metal acts in the same vein are the smooth transitions that remove any abruptness from appearing, making this the perfect blend of black and doom metal stylings. This album is downright heavy like a great doom record should be. “The Serpent Eats the Tail” has a brilliant riff that would find itself right at home on an early Black Sabbath record. “Yodh” is also as horribly biting and desolate as a great black metal record, but does so in an incredibly maximalist way. This record is beautifully mastered and sounds as sharp as any metal record in recent memory. This mastering style paired with the black metal traits gives the record a similar feel to Emperor’sIn The Nightside Eclipse”, in that it does not need to rely on aesthetic or tradition to provide that eerie feeling of total misery.

 A.L.N. is a master of sonic and vocal diversity that makes the 60 minutes blow by as fast as the riffs themselves. Rather than employing an utter scorched earth policy of heaviness, these tracks offer a lot a breathing room within this bleak atmosphere. This is certainly a technical release whose monoliths were created to be admired while dwarfing whatever surrounds it. A.L.N. demonstrates a penchant for punishing the listener in so many different ways, but also establishes a talent for creating harmony layered within the chaos. Much like the world in which the record was created, these tracks have a hidden beauty about them that can be lost in the distracting clamor of what is immediately apparent. A.L.N. displays both what is ugly as well as what is harmonious in a frighteningly familiar imbalance. The grim heavily outweighs the allure in a way not totally dissimilar from what so many of us are used to. 

Yodh is available on cassette here digitally here and on vinyl here

Band info: bandcamp