21 May 2016

Mhönos - Miserere Nostri

I think I can say that the cover for this release is one of the most fucked up images I have seen for a while.  Well done Mhönos, you have made a statement before I have even heard a note.  This is a review of the re-release of the first album by Mhönos (not Miserere Nostri as they are quote on Amazon, Spotify, etc, etc).  It was first released in 2012 on Doomanoid records, but has recently been given a polish and shine by Zanjeer Zani Productions.  According to the press release, Mhönos are from France and this album is from the doom metal genre; I say album it four tracks long, but it is forty minutes in length.  So, without much further ado, it is time to see what this bad are all about....

Starting the album is "Introitus" and this is an epic number; when I say epic I mean it is a seventeen minute, spiralling, droning, monolithic song that sounds like the backdrop to any old school horror movie that you care to imagine.  It is a terrifying piece that gives the likes of Sunn 0)))) and Godspeed You! Black Emperor a run for their money in term of textures and sounds, all the while keeping a tight rein on the riff which reminds me of early Emperor and the guitar style of Ihsahn.  The chants and infrequent light synths are contrasted by this lo-fi, relentless drone that does not have drums and relies on the bass as a percussion marker for the noise to continue its attack throughout the song.  This is either a song you hate or love, there is not going to be a casual follower of this song and I have a feeling that will suit Mhönos just fine.  The second song is called "Sequentia" which follows a lot of the themes of "Introitus" with droning guitars, ghoulish chanting for vocals and the feedback designed to give the listener either tinnitus or a heart attack.  It has some touches which make me think of Goblin and their horror soundtracks.  This theme drifts into the albums penultimate track "Offertorium" which starts off with that vintage horror synth noise that will have fans of old school zombie & Hammer Horror films delighted.  It is a small isle of delight for me here, not that I have not enjoyed the first two songs; I just enjoy this sort of music and it reminds me of films I used to watch in my youth, but without sounding dated and given a subtle and underrated genre a little gem of a song.  If you are a fan of anything with the word Goblin, this song is one for you.  To end the album, the band offer "Communio" which starts with a chanting drone and delves back into the droning guitar that reverts back to the original tone of the album and "Introitus", giving the album a circular feeling and tone.  It is much the same to be honest, not without a charm or passion; but it does have a weight of expectation to it that does not quite reach its full potential.  It is still a good track, but it is one that could have been a bit long (which is sort of ironic as it is over twelve minutes long already) and I am almost disappoint when the bells ring out and the album comes to an end...

This release is very much one for the genre only, it is a spooky and intense piece of horror drone/doom metal that will keep the faithful (for want of a better phrase) very happy indeed.  I found "Offertorium" a fantastic moment in the middle, a truly old school horror vibe in the middle of this sonic attack and it is something I hope is looked into in the future, so now how do I mark this?  Well, it is good for what it is and I found bits that I enjoyed; but it is also a release that you can only listen to in certain moods or when you are wanting confrontation instead of harmony.  A horror piece that will suit the mood of any drone fan is the best way to describe this album, the music is perfectly represented by that cover. 

7 out of ten - This is good and worth checking out.

Top track - Offertorium

You can follow the activities of Mhönos on Facebook here

You can purchase the digital version of Miserere Nostri on Amazon here

You can stream Miserere Nostri on Spotify here

You can stream Miserere Nostri on Deezer here

You can stream Miserere Nostri on Tidal here

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