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Black Metal

The Vast Cosmic Darkness of MIZMOR ‘Prosaic’

Mizmor returns with their fourth full-length, Prosaic, another platter full of Doom and Black, crusted with some Drone and Atmosphere. Creator  A.L.N. has always worn his heart on his sleeve, revealing depth and struggle, darkness and defiance, curiosity and seeking, and he continues the tradition here. Gone are the battles over religion. Here he seems to be embracing a life beyond apostasy, what this new kind of existence could bring, both the (gasp!) joys and pitfalls of a life without religion hanging over your existence.

“Only an Expanse” opens the album, fourteen-plus minutes of shifting Doom and Black Metal, it resembles waves crashing on an ocean beach. The water is cold, sometimes it stings, other times it gently washes over your feet, as you stare out in the vastness of the sea. There’s a contemplative nature to this song, a notion of longing and searching that’s hard to put a finger on, but you can feel it in your bones. A new journey calls, a new experience awaits, a new country ready to be discovered, out there, beyond the heaving seas. The caustic, acoustic fade-out of the last minute of the song really drives home this aura of loneliness up against the vast weight of the oceans of existence.

“No Place to Arrive” twists like a dirge at the beginning,  A.L.N.’s vocals desperate and scraping. You can touch the anguish, the pain, the desolation. The trudge is real, the emptiness immense, the agony deep. Darkness pervades and yet, there is a glimmer of hope. A bit of blastbeat Blackness rears its head, shaking the grind, until it too fades into a pastoral moment, languid and reflective. This dissolves into a bit of furious Black Metal before turning back into the dirge it began as.

“Anything But” is everything Mizmor. It comes shredding right out of the gate, picking up the sludgy pace left off by “No Place.” But no fear, the Doom is still there, lurking in the whispered words buried in the mix, and finally taking hold about two minutes into the song. And man, does it slam. You can feel the floors shake with each riff and drum strike. A real teeth-rattler, this one.  A.L.N.’s serpentine, goblin vocals slide against the heaviness, a sheen of grease to keep the engine running, followed by cavernous cries into the empty void. Another acoustic ending, once more reiterating the isolation and the loneliness of existence outside the realms of the familiar.

“Acceptance” is the final track, and it lives up to its name. The culmination of all that came before, there is a quality of (dark) liberation here. There are no answers given, but a hollow, insolent acceptance of a new reality sets in. Maybe there is nothing more beyond isolation and despair, but coming to terms with this lends its own kind of strength, its own kind of defiance. This is all driven home with some epic, crawling Doom that transforms into a (sort of) Bathory-like grandness. The ending is a slow, grueling fadeout requiem.

With Prosaic,  A.L.N. feels like he is transitioning. This is an album about leaving behind the things that previously possessed to forge a new path. Here is a glimpse into a world beyond religion and the control of a god, a world that is as big as the universe and just as frightening. Is there hope borne here? I’d say so, but it is a small, flickering flame in the midst of a great cosmic darkness. With this truly genuine, heartfelt, emotive album, Mizmor begins the voyage to another realm. It will be interesting to see where this journey leads him, and us.

Written By

Grew up in Kentucky, lived in NYC for a bit, lived in San Francisco for 17 years, moved back to the Bluegrass. Love to write, love horror and metal. I have over two dozen short stories published in various anthologies, as well as two novels, The Turning and Men of Perdition.

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