30 May 2016

Mesarthim - Pillars

I'm unsure as to how to go about reviewing Pillars by Austalian duo Mesarthim. Do I review it as an EP because it's only four tracks long? Or as an album because it's over 37 minutes long and I have several albums shorter than that?  Let's just see how it goes.

The band themselves, as I said, are from Australia but other than that little is known about them. They don't even have names. They released their debut album last year which was called Isolate, which seems to have been well recieved. Ostensibly they're an Atmospheric Black Metal band but there's several other aspects and nuances to their music that give them a unique sound. At least to my ears.

The opening track is the title track and when I said they were atmospheric before? That doesn't do justice to way the sounds almost makes you feel like you're heading through the lonely, claustrophobic depths of space whilst also admiring the grand, epic beauty of it. A slow pounding riff is accompanied by sweeping synths and some incongruous keyboards that have almost a Poppy quality to their melody. There are the occasional bursts of harshly screamed vocals that I have no idea if they are just that or if there's actual lyrics to them., not that it matters particularly. The song takes a few twists along the way and the electronics often come to the fore. The song eventually comes to a close after 13 1/2 minutes.

The next track is Orbiting and it'sonly a mere 6 minutes long. The guitars are much more prominent though those weird 80's Synthpop keyboards are present too. There's an Opeth-like quiet passage halfway through that stops Orbiting becoming too repetitive. Again, the vocals are quite sporadic but incomprehensible to me. I'm woefully un-KVLT.

Following that is the track 11 which is frustratingly 11 minutes and 4 seconds long. I'm sure they could have shaved those four seconds off somewhere and made it much more pleasing to the OCD. Musically it falls somewhere between the first two songs; the guitars are prominent but it's slower and more atmospheric. I'm really liking what the plinky plonky keyboards bring to their music. They don't sound silly or out of place but maybe give it a retro Sci-Fi feel. Listening to 11 You can easily imagine yourself adrift in a crippled spacecraft watching yourself slowly tumble towards an unnamed gas giant and an undecided fate.

The fourth and final track is an instrumental called Constellations that kicks of with some electronic beats that are kind of Drum n' Bass in nature. All of a sudden, everything crashes in and we're into the most urgent the band have sounded so far, The guitars chug away but the keyboards could be straight from some cheesy 90's europop band. It shouldn't work but it does, very well. After a couple of minutes the music fades out to just a synth and multi-layered choir vocals, similar to the Halo theme if you remember that? they eventually fade out and there's a peculiar, quiet electronic droning left in the wake.

Pillars is an impressively absorbing piece of work, it's immersive and emotional if not something you'd want to listen to casually. It needs undivided attention to appreciate fully. You should have a listen at least once. Oh and the internet says EP so that's that sorted too.

4 out of 5 - This is really good and well worth checking out.

Best Track: Pillars

You can listen to Pillars on Spotify HERE

You can listen/Purchase it on Bandcamp HERE

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