Mesarthim-Isolate

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: Avantgarde Music
Released: 2016
Buy Album [URL]: http://www.avantgardemusic.com/
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/Mesarthim-507636309403403

Band line-up:

Mesarthim_Isolate

.- Vocals
.- Other

Tracklisting:
  1. Osteopenia
  2. Declaration
  3. Interstellar
  4. Abyss
  5. Floating
  6. Isolate
Review

The combination of black metal moods with electronic elements is one that admittedly, I’m not all too far familiar with, apart from being little more than a passing fan of Summoning. What Australia’s Mesarthim do, however, is quite different. Taking their name from a star in the Aries constellation, their music is definitely spacey, vast, and feels very anonymous (perhaps the use of a simple full stop as pseudonyms should have been a clue to that!)

The opening track ‘Osteopenia’ begins with quite an exciting electronic intro before we are washed away into a melancholic bliss- a whirlwind of keys and rich, full chords. It is as simple and one-coloured as a wave, but just with as just a strong impact. At times rhythmic synths really take this album away from the realms of black metal, but then the classic sound of soulful, sonorous and depressive chords gush back in. It’s truly blissful.

However, the mood quickly changes with ‘Deceleration’, which is much more joyous. ‘Interstellar’ feels dreamy, atmospheric and organic, before the closer ‘Isolate’, which runs with a true vein of early 90s style black metal. One thing about this album is that it can always keep you guessing, and when the compositions themselves are quite repetitive and hypnotic, it’s great to be able to hear such variation from track to track.

One feature I rather dislike, however, is the use of guitar solos. The bluesy and melodic licks sound like Yngwie Malmsteen was invited to play on the record, but then lost his speedy abilities and just played slow. It really doesn’t fit for me, and the solos certainly feel just ‘thrown in’ to extend the track lengths.

One thing I think the duo have made an excellent choice on, though, is the vocals. They are used sparingly, and are placed low in the mix. This way the distorted cries add an extra dynamic, but don’t intrude on the instruments, because really, it certainly is the combination of ringing guitars, leading keyboards and stable, sedative drums that create this record’s unique atmosphere.

Overall, this album was a pleasant surprise for me, after being worried that after the first track the group’s hypnotic approach might fall flat. There are bound to be songs on this album you prefer than others, but I highly recommend you give this album a try to discover which ones you find the best!

Review by Jarod Lawley
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