Written by: Ancient Hand
Mesarthim recently surprise-dropped a new album, and I finally had the time to sit down and listen to the follow-up to my 4th favorite album of 2018. With 2 tracks that each clock in at 20 minutes exactly, Mesarthim already show their intent with this album: trying new things. Ghost Condensate is one whole made up of two halves, both of which show the band incorporating new elements into their already established style of intense avant-garde metal.
Despite featuring the band’s trademark sound, risks are taken on this album. On the first track, there are hip-hop trap influences around the 8-9-minute mark, which give way to dense and spacey atmosphere with orchestral synth breaking through after a few moments of staring into deep-space blackness. Then, guitars begin to build before being undercut by drums, and the sound falls back into an infectious rhythm made of guitar, synth, drums, and howls from unimaginable realms of black space horrors. A classic heavy-metal guitar solo shreds in at the speed of light around the 11-minute mark and crescendos into black metal fury.
This is just a 3-minute example of Mesarthim’s attempts to craft an interesting and original album, which they always seem to be doing. Most often is the band’s sound and style chalked up to “spacey atmospheric black metal,” but on this release, they prove that their influences cover a wide breadth of genres and musical styles. The project’s previous release showcased EDM elements, but Mesarthim builds on those sounds with more mainstream elements mixed with chilling black metal. This blend of styles leads to an album that sounds just as otherworldly as its cover appears to be.
On the second half of this release, Mesarthim play more to their tried and true strengths. Blistering black metal pummels you as dazzling synths add a wall of impenetrable noise before the release calms down and fades away in glistening electronics, willing you to start all over again. The blending of familiar sounds in unfamiliar places (trap elements on a black metal album) make for a very engaging and interesting listen.
Mesarthim have, to state it simply, done it again. Pushing the boundary enough to keep long-time listeners on their toes but not alienate fans of black metal, the band has crafted a 40:00 adventure through the cosmos. If anything, this release feels more akin to Mesarthim’s older releases than their previous album. The electronics feel more supportive of the black metal rather than center stage— aside from the trap-inspired section on Part 1. It is difficult to definitively state what the intent of this album is and whether or not it achieves its goal(s); however, it is easy to state that it is an album worth the concise runtime. Do yourself a favor and take a journey into the unknown with this new release.
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We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and heavy enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a certain groggy-eyed and highfalutin' peasantry.