From: Ave Noctum
Published: February 26, 2020
Ooo, here’s an oddity. This is the debut full length by Quebec based black metal band Maeskyyrn, but I have to say it doesn’t at first sight seem to fit in with the stuff I usually listen to from that productive scene. For a start the song titles and lyrics are in English… But a fair few of their social media missives are. And they have played live with those other bands so clearly they fit in nicely. So, what’s at play here?
Well the first track, ‘Introduction: The Artificial Light’ has a slow, dreamy, almost cosmic sound, a little Midnight Odyssey in the keyboards and whispered vocals until it eases into a slow, atmospheric riff. It’s almost DSBM in its feel, a grey, cold melancholy sweeping through the music, a little Winterfylleth at their simplest until the guitar break pushes it away. It then bursts into ‘Gathering Believers Amongst Sheep’ on a mid-paced riff that is so very Scandinavian in feel with aggressive vocals, but it’s when it drops back into a softer, slower mode around the midpoint that the song really shows its depth for me, albeit briefly. Beyond that perhaps it is a touch generic; not bad mind, just ok.
We then get the instrumental, almost subliminal drift of ‘I’ that wraps us once more in keyboard introspection. Again, it transitions superbly into ‘These Battlefields Where No One Walks Twice’ which has a weird but wonderful Destroyer 666 deep, malevolent slow style to it opening out into a melodic black metal riff all trilling notes and low down grunt. It has hooks, clean lead breaks and the deeper vocals are excellent. Ok this is good; very. A little choppy section and a Viking metal swagger and feel rounds it out nicely. Curious.
Second interlude ‘II’ follows and ‘The Slow Death Of The Years And Other Omens’ rides in in turbulence and keyboards that hark back to the early days of Gehenna. At nine minutes this is a bit on the epic side and despite distinct passages and drifts into quieter moments and gentle waters I do waver a bit but also suddenly the name Limbonic Art drops in and I begin to nod in that sage-like way reviewers do when they think someone.is watching them. Just something about the heavy use of keyboards allied with an often very Scandinavian style of riff and vocals that constantly pulls me in that vague direction without being a huge influence.
We get the third interlude then, and into ‘Of Forest And Troubled Pasts’ where the sound drifts towards the English sound of mist and hills and melancholy and lovely it is too. The hook-line here is just gorgeous, the feel of a land and nature washing over you in great grey waves. Another nine minutes but no wavering here; it enthrals and takes me places and is beautifully judged. Clean vocals appear, the keyboards are rich and the guitar break is excellent. Think a little like the UKs Deadwood Lake here.
And we end with…er… ‘The End’. A final bit of Midnight Odyssey styling, a soft slow end.
It’s a fascinating debut; not perfect and at times there’s still a little tension between the various influences at play from the tad generic Scandinavian sound, through a couple of branches of the English feel and the gentle mastery of Dis Pater. They will work it out though as their grasp of transition between sounds is excellent, the interludes are not wasted or jarring and they are not afraid to use more metal guitar leads breaks either. There are ideas and talent and a real feel here.
They might not slot neatly alongside their Quebec brethren but, hey, Maeskyyrn are definitely one to watch if melodic, atmospheric black metal.is your thing
Reviewed by: Gizmo
Posted by Nick Skog. Posted In : English