“…and they shall name their god before they die, so that they can die with them.
Their suffering shall stand as a testimony to the mistakes we shall not commit again”
Hails. Heard of Norwegian newcomers Misotheist? They unleashed their eponymous debut album Misotheist upon an unsuspecting and ill-prepared world back on November 30th. I gave it an ultra-quick listen back then but was unfortunately far too busy to spend the time with it that it deserved, so I made a mental note to return to it at some point in the near future. Guess what? That time is now. Well, a week or two ago – and since then I’ve been spinning this thing almost daily.
For those idiots like me who may have missed it or let it fall by the wayside somehow, here’s a retrospective review to hopefully convince you of the graven error of your ways. Don’t make the same mistakes I did.
Photograph by Void Revelations
So. Why do I like this album so much? Well, to once again inappropriately quote Miss Barrett Browning: Let me count the ways.
1. Starting right from the first thing you see, the cover art is fucking fiiiiiine. Depicting a cherub laying on a skull with an upraised hourglass and wafts of smoke arising from behind, it’s already an emblematic and captivating piece – but look a little closer and you’ll see it’s also wonderfully textured, with the effect of being printed on a canvas backing. The work of an artist known only as Izzy, it’s an intriguing and fitting threshold to the sounds within.
2. The global location. This enigmatic crew hails from Trondheim, Norway – it pleases me every time I hear a new name producing stunning black metal from arguably ground zero for the second wave, because I’m frankly getting sick of seeing/hearing people dribble on that “the Norwegian scene is dead, maaan”. No it fucking isn’t – and here’s the perfect case in point. Well, Terratur Possessions has been the perfect case in point lately… but more on that shortly.
3. The band name. A Misotheist is a despiser of religion but before half of you groan and roll your eyes, not in the typical “satanic” way. This just means a general hatred for ALL things religious; atheists can be misotheists, for example. A far better and much more fitting theme for the discerning modern black metal band/consumer.
4. They remain anonymous. And I mean anonymous; they aren’t hiding behind corpsepaint/hoods/grainy graveyard photos/stage names like Blasphemic Goatcrusher or anything (with apologies to Mr. Blasphemic Goatcrusher, wherever you are). They literally have no band pics, no information about themselves available anywhere, no social media. No egos. It’s simply all about the music, as it should be.
5. The music itself. A stunning blend of complexity, trance-inducing orthodox repetition, stripped-back grandiosity and just plain old rotting flesh. Which may sound like a strange combination, but just listen. It’s powerful, beautiful stuff.
6. The introduction to Beast And Soil. A wonderful cyclic acoustic piece; simple, rustic and authentic… that then flows seamlessly into the first hypnotic main riff of the song.
7. The gravitas of the songs themselves, and the way they progress. The tracks are immense, possessing a weighty power that pins you down as it progresses through several muscular parts, unfolding itself like a gargantuan spider slowly rising from slumber until it towers over you, full glory revealed. Each one is a journey you’ll want to experience multiple times over.
8. How the entire package, all of the above points, come together so well to create a beautiful piece of art. As a holistic package, it’s up there with the best of last year.
9. The fact that it’s out on Terratur Possessions. Misotheist is the last in a stunning consecutive run of releases from Whoredom Rife, Devouring Star, One Tail One Head and Mare, this label has had a fucking banner last few months and if for some inconceivable reason they’ve escaped your gaze to this point, you really should be paying attention to them. Four out of five of those artists are Norwegian too, so any of those aforementioned doubters – go boil your fucking head.
10. My only real complaint? At just over 33 minutes, it’s too short. Which isn’t even a complaint at all, as it just leaves you wanting more and hitting that replay button over and over.
So there you go. An unusual review for me, to the point, no bullshit – exactly the type of attitude you should have when deciding whether or not to check out this album. Do yourself a favour. Available now.
- No official channels. See the Terratur Possessions Bandcamp link above.