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Mainlining The Lugubrious (2010) , 6.5/10
Murmur (2014) , 6.5/10

Chicago's black-metal quartet Murmur debuted with the elegant, if not terribly innovative, Mainlining The Lugubrious (Inferna Profundus, 2010). The Intro sounds a remix of King Crimson's 21st Century Schizoid Man without the melody, and Die Injektion invests in hypnotizing the listener, not shocking her. That strategy is in place for most of the album, with varying degrees of trance. The Fall builds a relentless wall of blastbeats and incendiary guitar. Laudanum unwinds a gargantuan, spiraling melody over anthemic guitar riffing and martial drums. Murmux emits a slow growl over a steady carpet of midtempo beats and romantic guitar distortion, and ends in a cold wind of drones. The nine-minute Die Endlosung is the closest to the kind of brutal attack that one expects from the genre.

Murmur (Season of Mist, 2014) is a much more complex work, that perhaps exceeds in cleverness for its own sake. The brooding enigmatic noise that opens Water From Water, before the piece jumps into black-metal tumult, is emblematic of the unstable instrumental music that dominates the nine-minute prog-rock fantasia Bull Of Crete and the emphatic, theatrical eleven-minute Al-Malik. These are lengthly, convoluted, brainy tales with no words that display the skills of the players but don't quite coalesce as wholes. Zeta II Reticuli is perhaps the most articulate of the lengthy pieces, thanks to more linear development and cinematic effervescence. Murmur certainly broadens the horizons of the genre by, for example, incorporating acoustic guitar and liquid jazzy keyboards in Recuerdos and zombie-like chanting in When Blood Leaves ; and allowing drummer Charlie Werber to indulge in his eclectic rhythmic visions.

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(Copyright © 2012 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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