Wednesday, 5 February 2020

ALBUM REVIEW: Servant of the Mist, "Healing Process"

By: Richard Murray

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 17/01/2020
Label: No Friends

“Healing Process” DD track listing:

1). Tragic Labyrinths
2). Lips of Shit
3). Reflections
4). Healing Process
5). Solace
6). For Days on End
7). The Anniversary Effect
8). Uninvited

The Review:

Has there been a void in you sludge fan? A void of truly wanting, no, needing to know what Primitive Man would sound like while clashing with Dragged into Sunlight, perhaps? Then keep reading. A void needing blood curdling screams and guitars that sounds like they’re being played by Quaalude addicts with extreme anger problems? Then keep reading. 

Servant of the Mist takes on all genres of extreme. Over its runtime, and in this order, we hear their takes on doom, funeral doom and sludge all with depressive black metal style vocals. They’ve been teasing us since 2013’s single “Daydreamer”. The three track EP entitled “Suicide Sex Pact” and four track EP “Gross Knowledge of Genital Mutilation” followed in the year 2013, and 2014, respectfully. And then they lay dormant for six long years until 2020’s “Healing Process” LP brought them out of hibernation. All of that time I have to imagine members spent bound to chairs in opium dens only to be let out to fight the alligators bare handed in their native Florida for food. I might think of extreme metal bands as roaming vagabonds who live in a kill or be killed environment. But it’s more fun that way, I promise. 

Splitting up each individual aspect seems pointless. Not because of one aspect lacking. But because each note, each shriek, each monstrous beating of the drum blends in so well it seem impossible to isolate any one part being non essential. With that said let’s still give credit where credit is due. Ed Tobar and Ryan Blackman exchange and entangle in the guitar, Evan Schaaf keeps things gelled together on bass, Robyn Holley detonates precision on drums, and Richard Smyth Jr. writes every lyric and summons demons on vocals. 

The doom segment begins everything with the sombre “Tragic Labyrinths”. A lonely guitar playing Indian inspired blues until the crushing drums and rib vibrating singing engulf all of existence. Each segment seems eternal and vast like everything was recorded in an echo chamber with each sound being brought back more distorted then before. Hypnotic “Lips of Shit” is a diminished fifth haven, as simple as that. You’ve got eleven minutes of indescribable torture of auditory hell. The funeral doom segment starts with “Reflections” and continues to “Healing Process” where we have something of a feat. Something I’ve never heard before.

Servants of the Mist contribution to funeral doom with shorter song lengths. This is interesting for fans of Bell Witch or Skepticism. These songs total to nine minutes but accomplish so much with so little time, so not a bad thing at all. Almost like instead of drawing something out as long as anyone could possibly stand they’re instead opting for how creative they can be by saying just as much with half the time. A much needed cool down moment in the instrumental until the bands sludge soaked nightmares takes complete hold on “For Days on End” that grips you with “The Anniversary Effect” until “Uninvited” fades out. This makes a fantasy in my mind of avenging any naysayers with magical powers I’ve furnished from my evil inner being. Even though I’m just sitting on my couch drinking mineral water and playing with my cats. 

I’ve never heard three of the most sinister genres all on display so vividly before. Servants of the Mist have shown me that they can lead a hate fueled vessel I’ve be revisiting often. 

“Healing Process” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook