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Total Dread: MIZMOR & DROSS Split Review

מזמור , also known as Mizmor, is a member of Oregon-based doom metal gods Hell, and of also Portland-based black metal band Urzeit. Under the moniker Mizmor, this obscure artist is the author of some pretty cataclysmic and doomed-out black metal which is pretty much awesome all around, and that has now amassed a considerable discography for being a fairly new one-man project: a debut full-length, a handful of single releases and a few splits, one of which is with Hell itself (something of a split with himself in a way). On this latest outing, we find Mizmor paired up for a split with another black metal band, Dross, from Phoenix, Arizona – an equally obscure and reclusive quartet of people who have zero presence anywhere, especially online, and as the only testament to their existence they have scattered an awesome but still small trail of demos throughout the underground. 

In this joint effort, Mizmor delights us with “IX – Crestfallen Usurper,” a fifteen-minute black-doom colossus that will devour your dreams and melt your marrow from within. The song kicks off with a wallop, about seven or eight minutes of frantic and disembodied black metal virulence that brings together both the lurid and spiteful dissonance of Dark Funeral and Gorgoroth and the eerie and stormy melancholy of bands like Drudkh and Ash Borer. The song winds and shifts down a path of sonic damnation and complete loss until it hits the bottom of a hideous abyss. At that point, the underworld opens up; the tempos slow down to a coma pace and a frightening, doom-ridden void opens before the listener, deafening him or her with a barrage of bestial, slow-motion doom devastation, before picking up the black metal axe again and cutting through the listener with a storm of slashing black metal riffs. This song is long, tortuous and dismal, but the fifteen minutes go by fast, making the whole song feel like some kind of malevolent wind that swept through you, or like awakening from a bad dream.

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The second half of the ordeal is presented to us by Dross. These Arizona pain scavengers give a song that is more focused on melody, repetition and mid tempos. At times, you have the feeling you have been sucked back in time and are witnessing the birth of Wolves In The Throne Room all over again, gazing in awe at the materialization of their crusty and epic black metal gallops. However, Dross present their craft to us on a way more depressive and death-ridden note. Luminosity is choked out of the music, with a squeezing of shadows so tight that complete darkness dominates throughout, and the moods are just fucking dreadful. The loss, pain, numbness and dread that drips from these riffs are the shit of total desperation, the climax of a fucking nightmare in which you have lost everything. Here, too, we have about thirteen minutes of crawling and slithering dread, but the band is good at keeping your attention, alternating towards the end with some melodic soloing and picking, some doomy soundscapes and a black metal grand finale that will peel the skin from your flesh.

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Art for split by Bryan Proteau

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