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Mist Of Misery - Absence (2016) - Review

Band: Mist Of Misery
Album title: Absence
Release date: 31 August 2016
Label: Black Lion Records

01. Melancholic Thoughts
02. Euthanasia
03. Absence
04. Final Departure
05. Epitaph Of Penitence
06. Wistful Twilight
07. Paragon Of Perdition
08. Mist Of Misery
09. Serenity In Nothingness

One of the fastest rising Swedish underground labels Black Lion Records (formerly Black Lion Productions) has really a fortunate hand in picking up the bands. After the fantastic releases of bands like are Hyperion, Murdryck, Vindland, Coldbound and Alfheim to name just a few, this label already established its name as one of the most promising when it comes to quality in dark extreme genres, but not only, you'll find in their roster varied musical styles. Now they are about to release the debut album of Swedes Mist Of Misery, a band which is active since 2010 and so far they released only one EP, Temple Of Stilled Voices, in 2013 as a self-release, which was in 2015 re-released by Black Lion. Mist Of Misery started as a duo, but were recently joined by Erik Molnar aka Phlegathon, who took over guitar/bass/vocal duties and is better known from melodic black metallers Hyperion. His arrival really brought new energy and spirit into this band and if Mist Of Misery were initially sounding like a good but average dsbm band, now the thing is much different. Absence is without any doubt one of the best symphonic/atmospheric black metal releases I've had a chance to listen lately.

Narrow-minded fans of traditional cvlt black metal should stop reading this review and keep their hands away from this release, this is simply not for you. Absence is an album for musical adventurists, this music is intended to set the listener in a different and almost meditative state of mind in order to absorb its true depth. It unites two different worlds, one is pure symphonic, gothic and classical meditative soundscape, sometimes almost theatrical, the other one is melodic and highly atmospheric black metal that will most likely appeal to fans of Dimmu Borgir era Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, but yet there are many elements that could be associated with typical Swedish melo-death, and after all it's technical enough to gain the attention from those who liked Hyperion's Seraphical Euphony. Those sides are put into one well flowing and cohesive musical journey that has pathos, is dynamic enough to keep everyone focused from start to finish, there's so much going on. Even if some extreme parts might sound similar in each track it's not like that if you pay enough attention to details, to amazing melodic guitar lines, several almost progressive leads that perfectly intertwine with indispensable tremolo picks and insertions of acoustic guitars, then the rhythmic line with two drummers is something really unique and I believe that the listener will be amazed when Mist Of Misery goes in full blast on several occasions. What gives a real character and adds depth to this album are perfectly used highly atmospheric gloomy synths and many ambiental additions. Add to all that great impactful black metal vocals, a bit similar to Shagrath and you got a score, just listen to the highly dynamic and captivating epic masterpieces "Euthanasia", "Absence" or to the self-titled "Mist Of Misery".

The album was in the making for six long years, it was recorded on various private locations around Stockholm, so it's nothing strange that the attention to details is on a very high level. Mist Of Misery didn't leave anything unorganized, also in the purely symphonic/ambiental or instrumental tracks like are intro/opener "Melancholic Thoughts", "Final Departure", "Wistful Twilight" and the closing one "Serenity In Nothingness". I couldn't pick up more appropriate names for those tracks as the title literally depicts the feeling. The most diverse track up here must be "Paragon Of Perdition", uniting all the elements mentioned before in such a well composed harmonic manner, yet here the band wisely adds some melancholic strings, acoustic guitars, gothy organ and cinematic dark ambiental elements. As well some tiny folkish/celtic parts pop up here and there just to make the sound even more ambivalent.

Absence is a highly accessible album, it's captivating, very cinematic with highly atmospheric sound. Like said before this is a musical journey, it's dramatic, melancholic, yet very obscure, it offers beauty and contrary to that it's somehow evil. The only complaint I have is about production, it's not bad at all, also the mix is very good, but I think that there should be more power, even more depth when the band goes in full blast. The chilling sombre mystical artwork drawn by the talented Russian artist Alex Tartsus is impressive, so the final product should be even more appealing to those who still buy physical editions of albums. Absence is an album that will most likely be played many times by those who search for something more inside the extreme music, but not only, I recommend this album also to fans of symphonic metal, gothic metalers, to those who like melodic death metal, to fans of classical music and in the end to those who like anything meditative or ambiental in music.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 8,5/10

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