As Author’s Choices, every one of our authors gets the chance to pick one album that the rest of the authors need to listen to and write a comment about.
Writing a review about this album is about as difficult as it can get in my opinion – due to the fact that grasping the emotions vocalist and single band member A.L.N. went through while writing and also playing the music on this album can probably not be grasped by a “single listening process” or by trying to “grade” the album. This was one of the reasons why I thought it would be perfect to choose in order to have the entire team listen to the album – because I think that more people should be listening to Mizmor. However, writing short comments is still not even a slight possibility of gaining a brief understanding of what this album is about and what emotions the listener undergoes while wading through this swamp of feelings. Nevertheless – I am glad to know that everyone listened to the album, because listening to this release is an experience you don’t want to miss. It has been quite a long time since an album convinced me in its entirety to such an extent as Cairn did. The droning sound of the guitars – the long moments in between – the sorrowful vocals – Cairn just bleeds right into your ears. The entire album oscillates between Doom and Black Metal – merging both of these sounds in between. Especially the moments when there is no incredibly memorable riff going on ( and there are a lot of riffs ) – when the album is taken to a halt – these moments create the outstanding sound of the album. There is so much peace in between the rage and longing, which steps into the forefront only at some points. However, these peaceful sequences are the key moments that constitue the significance of this album. If you haven’t heard Cairn, you should do so. If you haven’t heard Mizmor – do so !
Recently I have been searching selectively for bands within the spectrum of Doom, Black and Sludge Metal, trying to discover as many bands and sounds as possible in that direction. I have read about Mizmor a couple of times in some magazines and Roman told me to give them a listen several times since he knows my musical preferences pretty well, but unfortunately I did not manage to do that until Cairn being part of this Author’s Choice episode. Due to the fact that Mizmor will be part of one of my upcoming columns, I want to focus on one major characteristic of the album at this point which in my opinion is the most oustanding. Cairn is not a Black Metal record blended with Doom influences nor a blackened Doom record. Elements of both the aforementioned genres are organically merged together without sounding unnatural or constructed at any point. Cairn definetly is not an easy listen, but if you can manage to enter Mizmor‘s world of bleak and melancholic wastelands, this sonic and lyrical experience could be as unique as it had been for me.
4 tracks with a total playtime of roughly 58 minutes is a statement by Mizmor from the US on their third full-length release since 2012. The calm and peaceful acoustic guitar intro of “Desert of Absurdity” is destroyed by an aggressive, growling guitar feedback, which leads us into a nice riff and high-pitched, distorted vocals – and definite black metal.
I like the fact that you can understand the singer, if you are familiar with this style of music – and believe me, you need to mark this, because often the singers just focuses on the vocal sound, as an instrument, but not on the audibility of their lyrics. A melodic guitar solo is the break in the song, and leads us to the doomy part of the song. Drums and guitar get slower and slower. The vocals still sound the same, but of because of the reduced speed, they become a painful wail.
This mixture of black and doom parts can be found on every song, and I really enjoy the impact of the vocals. They seem to be from another cold and dark dimension, sometimes sounding like a crow, calling for you from the graveyard next door.
Have you ever watched some of those „end of broadcasting“ programs? Some stations provide the most beautiful train-tracks of Germany, some have computer-animated aliens which read your messages and some just had a burning fireplace.
Listening to Mizmor is like those programs. In this case you watch lava slowly crawling down a vulcano, burying everthing in its way. Most of the time, it is a slow and sludgy affair. But sometimes something special gets „burned“, so there is a nice explosion or a slightly quicker pace. But after that, the lava crawls on.
Cairn is a good sludge-metal record, but in my heart the space for slow, hard metal is occupied by Primitive Man.
The album Cairn by Mizmor is not my cup of tea, mainly because of the vocals. But there were some positive parts on this album, mainly the instruments and their sounds are at some points excellent. The song “Cairn to Suicide” has a lot of good moments and changing of sound, and all the other songs have their specific style.