A few days ago I expounded on the idea that black metal does not always need to be original and innovative. There are times that black metal simply needs to play the music better. While innovation and originality are undoubtedly important to the evolution and preservation of black metal, the fundamentals have been getting muddled down to Neanderthal-esque beating on the drums, playing nonsensical, amelodic riffs and garbled unintelligent lyrics. This is not a call for getting back to the fundamentals of black metal, but a thank you to those bands that excel at the fundamentals and play some excellent black metal. Mephorash is one those bands, they play nothing overly spectacular or special but what they do play, they play with passion and fire. Their album “1557 – Rites of Nullification” has been one of the most enjoyable listens I’ve had since Resounding Footsteps started.
Upon first listening to the album, I assumed the band was Polish, there was a sort of primal, esoteric vibe to the music that I’ve only heard from bands like Behemoth, Graveland, and Vader. I was shocked and pleased to find out that they are actually from Sweden. The album opens up with one of the best purely vocal performances I’ve heard in quite a while. The music is sound (no pun intended) with overly harsh riffs stitched into melodies that draw all the songs on the album together. The drums were present but not overbearing, working in a perfect unison with the vocals to punctuate their respective powers. As the vocals wore on in the album I was reminded of Brother Theodore’s Gollum voice in the Rankin/Bass productions of The Hobbit and Return of the King which of course gets added points for nostalgia.
As I said before, Mephorash play very solid black metal and the production of said black metal follows suit. It’s raw and uncompromisingly ugly but at the same time the sound is clear and precise, each note, riff, and sound are intelligible and powerful. If more bands focused on this sort of thing rather than the latest gimmick (not that gimmicks are bad, they’re needed every once in a while but too much has become a bad thing in black metal) the sound would be much stronger overall, although I’ve been told recently there is no such thing as a black metal community but that’s a debate for another time. In short, 1557 – Rites of Nullification is one of the strongest, most powerful, and blackest albums I’ve heard in a while. I highly recommend this.
Listen and support!