Like most people, I love the anticipation of listening to a new album, especially for one that I have been waiting for some time. As usual, the amount of time is parabolically related to the excitement and Mithras’ first album in nearly a decade, On Strange Loops, hit the peak right before it came out. I’ve heard Mithras called “Morbid Angel in space” and while I find the comparison fitting, I think it fails to really grasp what Mithras, as a band, really is.
The musical structure to On Strange Loops is similar to Blessed are the Sick, but only in the most nominal ways. Mithras is more technical than Morbid Angel was at this point and the distortions are a lot heavier (is deathgaze a thing yet, no… don’t even get me started). Also, the lyrical content is similar to Morbid Angel but barely enough to register, and I actually prefer Mithras’ Greek mythology and astral traveling to Morbid Angel’s pseudo Sumerian history. The music and the lyrics mesh much better for Mithras.
There are twelve songs listed on the album but it feels like only six. Each song has a counterpart that plays against to act as a foil. The first song on the album blew me away with how fast it was but the second slowed things down significantly. Despite the sudden and drastic change of pace between the songs they are still intrinsically linked, like two parts of a play.
The music is damn good, and for me to say that about something that is very much death metal that’s saying a lot. The guitars are thick and heavy but they don’t overburden the sound and turn the whole thing into a wall of indistinguishable sound as death metal so often does. The vocals are different and I think they might be my favorite part of the whole album. With the genre on the metal archives listed as “Experimental Brutal Death Metal” you might expect guttural grunts that sound vaguely like a frog chocking to death but Mithras’ vocals are different in On Strange Loops. While they are still harsh and brutal, they don’t quite reach the “this sounds more like burping rather than vocals” guttural level (which probably helps the vocal chords in the end anyways). The vocals also seem to be much more in rhythm with the melodies of the guitar than most death metal so that’s a major plus.
I loved the overall feeling I got from the album; the mood was definitely perfect. After nine years, you would have to imagine that whatever Mithras was going to come out with was going to be detailed in every way. While I didn’t wait nine years (nine months sure but not nine years) this was well worth the wait and I can’t wait have On Strange Loops looping through my speakers for a long time to come. The whole album is a Mobius strip through the Odyssey. It is not an album to be missed!
Listen and support!