Mizmor - Cairn review

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Band: Mizmor
Album: Cairn
Release date: September 2019

01. Desert Of Absurdity
02. Cairn To God
03. Cairn To Suicide
04. The Narrowing Way

Mizmor continue their tradition of having the music of the album match up to their amazing artworks.

Yodh was not Mizmor's first album and I'm sure there are some devotees who prefer their self-titled debut to it, but there's no denying that Mizmor exploded on the underground scene with that release, and there's no denying that a lot of that is due to the album's gorgeous cover art, a painting by Polish painter Zdzisław Beksiński. Thankfully Mizmor did have the music to back it up so it was worth staying over once you came for that artwork, so much so that it lead to a live album of the full performance of it at Roadburn 2018. Three years later, they (or rather he, since A.L.N. is the mastermind behind this one man band) capitalize on all the attention that the previous album got by keeping up the ante with another monumental release.

There are, of course, many similarities between Yodh and Cairn. Both have absolutely stunning cover arts done by Polish artists, one inspired by the other (Cairn's Mariusz Lewandowski by Yodh's Zdzisław Beksiński). Both showcase Mizmor's unique blend of black and doom metal, more on that later. Both have a tendency for really long songs and monumental albums, though Cairn is slightly shorter both in runtime and in the number of tracks. However Cairn also feels like the clear step forward from both of the previous albums, further away from the rawness of the selftitled and into even more cohesion, bringing their sound to the most organic this blend of doom and black has ever sounded, as well as it feeling the least bloated even at its runtime.

What set Mizmor apart is that they never sounded like slow black metal or doom metal spiced with blast beats, instead they found a way to naturally stitch these sounds together without making it feel like a Frankenstein's monster. There's still clear moments where the doom part is in charge, obviously in the slower moments, or when the black part is in charge, obviously in the faster moments. Even so, they naturally progress from one another so they never feel like they're performed by different artists, instead they always ease into one another to create monuments of bleakness and despair. And as the sound feels more cohesive, so does the feel of the album mature as well, clearly coming a few more years into its maker's life than the angstier previous albums. There's angst galore on Cairn as well, but if feels like A.L.N. reflection upon his demons by channeling them into his music have made Cairn feel strangely triumphant and celebratory as well. With plenty of interviews to accompany the release of this album (here and here), we get a much clearer glimpse of what has lead to Cairn and why such commemoratorial monuments of stone are raised to God and suicide.

And as such, just as A.L.N. calls life both amazing and terrible, Cairn reflects that. Not by being terrible, mind you, but with its droning and melancholic and harrowing colossus of heavy ugly suffocating sound, that still feels full of glimmers of hope and beauty, both in the clearly beautiful atmospheric segments, as well as a constant undertone in the heaviest of moments. The duality is not entirely obvious and easily discoverable, with hope feeling just out of reach but attainable nonetheless. Even if the production on this album is much clearer, and the songwriting more diverse and cohesive, it is still the changes in A.L.N. that move Cairn forward.


Written on 02.10.2019 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments: 2   [ 1 ignored ]   Visited by: 92 users
02.10.2019 - 21:47
I haven't listened to this yet but it's there in a ridiculously long list of stuff I need to check out by the end of the year. The art is beyond words, I would happily fill my house's walls with Lewandowski's album covers. Or Beksiński's. They are both fucking phenomenal.
07.10.2019 - 08:56
No one
For some reason I thought this was going to be a straight black metal album, turned out kind funeral doomish aswell. Not my preferred genre but still pretty good
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