Thursday, May 8, 2014

Murmur - S/T (Season of Mist, 2014)

Chicago metal band Murmur has returned with an eponymous sophomore effort that is nothing less than brilliant. To be honest, it took me off guard. The diversity of styles is overwhelming, the playing is loose yet polished, and the theme shows a great deal of growth and maturity.

This could be a tricky one for those of you that find the avant garde aesthetic a bit much to handle. The record begins with a wash of ambient free improvisation, launches into a traditional blast beat, then cycles through experimental waves of progressive (yes, King Crimson), 80's, tribal polyrhythms, acoustic, noise, jazz, and post-rock. They even break down a 70's hard rock ballad. Vocals are blackened, occasionally clean melodic harmonies, and some atonal rants, although the bulk of the album is instrumental.

What strikes me is that even though packing all of this into the same recording sounds as if it would be too busy and math rock'ish, it is not. Murmur's delivery still feels casual and uncomplicated. Most notably, this may be the most interesting metal drummer I've heard in years. At times, due to his style, it's easy to forget this is a metal record at all.

I must admit, I've never been much on prog, yet my heightened sensitivity levels came through unscathed.
This feels more like a lush and fantastic voyage through a faraway--Wait... I think the prog elements just drugged me.

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