Review from The Headbanging Moose

September 23, 2019
From: The Headbanging Moose
Published: September 20, 2019 

Let me begin this review by saying that I was absolutely shocked when I read earlier this year that the beyond promising and talented Rochester, New York-based Atmospheric Black Metal band Mavradoxa was calling it quits after only a few years of existence. Fortunately for all of us, fans of dark and atmospheric music, the band left us with three excellent full-length albums, those being their 2016 debut opus Sojourners, their fantastic 2017 release Lethean Lament, and more recently Nightmarrow, released earlier this year via Hypnotic Dirge Records. Although related to the tonal atmosphere and character of their previous albums, Nightmarrow sees the band developing and intensifying their song-writing ability, crafting simultaneously cohesive yet unpredictable songs with a progressive hue that is still rooted in Atmospheric Black Metal.

Engineered by Nicholas Alan at Subterranean Studios, mixed by Stephen Parker (Pillorian, Maestus), mastered by Justin Weis at Trakworx Recording, and featuring a stunning artwork by American artist Dylan Garrett Smith, Nightmarrow represents a meditation on the isolation and hopelessness of our age (particularly in the realm of the urban), and the consequences of technology and voracious consumption of resources. Mavradoxa’s founding duo Zachary Smith, also known as Nival, and Monica Finger, also known as Lux, together with guitarist Tyler Stasierowski (from The Highest Leviathan) and bassist Josh Mason (from Wandering Oak and Acrylazea), perfectly depict that feeling of solitude and desperation in Nightmarrow, positioning the unfortunately now defunct band as one of the most creative and interesting bands of the underground scene in the United States.

Featuring guest vocals by Matt Greenwood and an additional guitar solo by Nicholas Alan, the opening track Maple begins in full force with the razor-edged riffs by Zach and Tyler and the intricate beats by Monica generating a rumbling ambience perfect for Zach’s anguished roars, sounding as powerful and grim just the way we like it in Atmospheric Black Metal. Furthermore, the song’s progressive ending flows smoothly into the even darker musical voyage entitled The Carrion Shade, where Josh and Monica make the earth tremble with their respective instruments while the entire band darkly intones the song’s cryptic lyrics (“Black sun, black moon / In shadows, entombed / Flame, gold, & rust / slowly coalesced / in the pale of the / last winter sunset”). This is Progressive Black Metal at its finest showcasing all band members in absolute sync, therefore delivering a crushing wall of blackened sounds for our total delight, in special Zach and Tyler with their flammable guitars.

Matt Greenwood returns in the title-track Nightmarrow, where the music gets closer to what was offered to us in Lethean Lament, presenting more introspective and atmospheric sounds and passages. Zach sounds utterly enraged and acid on vocals, with Monica’s gentle clean vocals bringing more balance to this dense and bold feast of extreme music. Then an acoustic, ethereal bridge named Rustling Leaves soothes our souls and warms up our senses for Black Crystal Snowfall, featuring guest vocals by Swamp and sheer poetry flowing from its lyrics (“Ancestral whispers beckon us back / to a starless womb, to a time before / this place where all is languishing, / where all is ensnared by the grasp / of synthetic hands, becoming, / and ripping our bones from within”), also bringing forward elements from Blackened Doom added to their core atmospheric music. Monica’s steady beats and Zach’s and Tyler’s crisp riffs will undoubtedly embrace your soul from start to finish, reaching a climatic and piercing grand finale that gently morphs into a melancholic outro titled Umbra, where Zach and Tyler deliver a passionate performance with their acoustic guitars, concluding Nightmarrow on a high and pensive note.

If Nightmarrow, which by the way is available in full on YouTube and on Spotify, is indeed the last breath of Atmospheric Black Metal by Mavradoxa no one knows for sure. The band might decide to come back from their “retirement” one day to smash our senses again with their somber music, who knows? Until that day arrives (if it arrives,  of course), you can keep in touch with Zach and Monica on Facebook, and purchase your copy of Mavradoxa’s final journey through the realms of atmospheric and extreme music from the Hypnotic Dirge Records’ BandCamp page (or click HERE for all details about the band and where to buy their music), as well as from your regular retailers such as Apple Music, Amazon, CD Baby and Discogs. Having said that, it’s with a heavy heart that I finalize this review (or maybe I should call it a tribute), as heavy, ominous and splendorous as the music by the now extinct Mavradoxa. Thank you for your music, Zah and Monica, and I’m sure we’ll be hearing from you two again in a not-so-distant future.

Reviewed by: Gustavo Scuderi

Review from Aristocrazia Webzine

July 29, 2019
From: Aristocrazia Webzine
Published: July 25, 2019

Non sono state di certo le idee a mancare in casa Mavradoxa, formazione statunitense capace di sfornare tre album in soli quattro anni per poi sciogliersi a pochi mesi dall’uscita di questo, ultimo, Nightmarrow. I primi due, Sojourners e Lethean Lament, rispettivamente del 2016 e 2017, erano un concentrato di post-black metal di matrice americana fortemente debitore delle sonorità care a Falls Of Rauros e Panopticon su tutti. I...

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Review from Ave Noctum

July 20, 2019
From: Ave Noctum
Published: July 18, 2019

North America has a rich heritage when it comes to atmospheric black metal with bands such as Wolves in the Throne Room, Agalloch, Alda and Panopticon having evolved a style of their own, evoking images of desolate landscapes and dense north American forests.

Mavradoxa are another such band, hailing from upstate New York and having firmly set out their stall on previous releases as pedlars of atmospheric black and post black metal in a simil...

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Review from Metal Addicts

July 1, 2019
From: Metal Addicts
Published: June 25, 2019

It is always such a great surprise when a band combines the old and the new with a very personal harsh, and some kind of, squeaky voice – in the good sense, my child of the night. Mavradoxa with “Nightmarrow” get very near what Cirith Ungol did in the 1980s. That’s the very first reminder that comes to my mind due to the strange, but yet exciting instrumentals and the aforementioned vocals. When I say strange I really don’t mea...

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Review from Metal Temple

June 18, 2019
From: Metal Temple
Published: June 18, 2019

New York's MAVRADOXA is like going to the woods,  those ancient places where you commune with the spirit of nature, but modern at the same time, not too far away, and with Wi-Fi. Although they have a lot similarities and share influences of bands that came before them, they're really trying to forge their own way, and that's something to be thankful for. In a time where many metal musicians get complacent and think emulating what they hav...

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Review from Metal Bulletin

June 18, 2019
From: Metal Bulletin Zine
Published: June 16, 2019

Black metal, as interpreted by this New York State band, means an effort to make the recording as real as possible, that sounds like human beings playing music; less software; more playing. This band does well in their use of melody on this, their third album. It is very likable to hear a recording in which the drums sound real, the extra noisiness of real cymbals, and the overall labor that is drumming. The bass guitar is there an...

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Review from Metalpit

June 3, 2019
From: Metalpit
Published: May 26, 2019

Il terzo disco dei Mavradoxa, dopo le due discrete produzioni che l’hanno preceduto, ha un obbiettivo chiaro: dare certezze e far capire come il quartetto statunitense abbia le carte in regola per fare strada, continuando al meglio quanto iniziato. Se consideriamo anche l’esperienza che hanno acquisito i membri nell’ultimo decennio (nei cinque anni di attività con questo progetto e anche con altre band), aspettarsi un salto di qualità ...

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Review from United Rock Nation

May 20, 2019
From: United Rock Nations
Published: May 16, 2019 

Mavradoxa, un nom qui vient du grec et que l'on traduirait par « Darkworship », est un quatuor américain formé en 2015 et qui a sorti son premier album, « Sojourners », dès 2016, rapidement suivi de « Lethean Lament », en 2017. Cette année c'est avec « Nightmarrow » que le groupe nous invite à découvrir son univers et ses propositions musicales.

La première chose qui saute aux yeux, enfin aux oreilles en l'occurrence,...

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Review from Nine Circles

May 2, 2019
From: Nine Circles
Published: May 1, 2019

No one on Earth has ever said, “You know what we need more of?  Melodic, atmospheric black metal.”  And yet, here we are with Mavradoxa, nailing that melodic mid-paced black metal to the bone on third album Nightmarrow and you know what?  I dig it.  I dig it quite a bit.  More than just another band hitting the same notes as everyone else, there’s a strong melodic bent and a tendency to shy away from more overt black metal moments to ...

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Review from The Metal Observer

May 2, 2019
From: The Metal Observer
Published: May 1, 2019

Hailing from upstate New York, Mavradoxa renders mental images of North American woodlands in the autumn and early winter with a tapestry of black metal, hints of prog, and more than a taste of the slow, doomy post-metal that made Agalloch famous. As the band’s third album, Nightmarrow, drifts back and forth between serene acoustic bits, streams of meditative black metal and occasional progressive flourishes, a massive vignette of n...

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 Released:  May 2, 2019
500 Copies
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal