Imagine yourself on a warm and sunny day, entering an empty little gothic church in the countryside. The coldness of the place and the silence of the statues are pierced by the rays of the sun which enter through the beautiful stained glass. As you glance in awe at this beautiful sight, the dust particles dance in the sunlight and then you hear the seraphic voices of a chorus from above. This is exactly how I would describe Mephorash‘s latest release.
4 years after the release of their last album, Swedens’s Mephorash will come forth on the 18th of April with their 4th full length, suggestively titled Shem Ha Mephorash. The album will be available in various formats (cd, DLP and tape) and it will be released by the already famous home of the brave, Shadow Records/Helter Skelter Productions.
To begin with, I have to admit that even though I received the promo for this disc some time ago, I could not write a proper review until now. And that is not because I do not like the album or I had to convince myself that is worth a review, but because this is an album that needs so many hours to be absorbed into one’s body and mind. It is not an easy listen, as each of the 8 songs present on this album are so full of layers that it is impossible to dissect them after just a couple of listens.
Since its first release, Death Awakens in 2011, the band has continuously evolved and it has reached its highest peak now, in 2019.
With 3 albums and a handful of EPs under their belt, Mephorash have gradually shifted from a straightforward black metal to a more complex and majestic style of black metal.
Things have started to take a different shape with their 3rd album, “1557 – Rites of Nullification“, after the addition of Nebiros (Malign, Ofermod) to their ranks. From there on, the band delved more and more into an operatic type of extreme metal, while keeping their (primeval) roots very much alive.
The best proof of this change is Shem Ha Mephorash, a chameleonic album which can take so many shapes or colors in the blink of an eye. The music on this release is much more than black metal, it is something that cannot be named (and for this there are no 72 names). With these 8 songs, we embark on a journey back in time, a journey which will take us through various metal genres, from classical music, funeral doom, opera and black metal. Everything is well planned on this album, nothing happens without a reason.
First of all, this album is long: 8 tracks, for almost 74 minutes of magic. But the trick is that it is not boring. On the contrary. Like its predecessor, 1557 – Rites of Nullification, the songs are connected, they flow one into another, creating the illusion of one single, long track. And that keeps you focused on what’s going on there, because the music is more than grandiose. There is a strong aura of mysticism coming out of those speakers which literally envelops the listener in a shroud of beauty – just listen carefully to Chants of Golgotha or Sanguinem and you will see what I mean.
The use of those superb female vocals, the pianos, the bells, the slow, funeral doom tempo and the wailing guitars build an extraordinary atmosphere which is completed by the aggressive parts, reminiscence of the band’s black metal past. Best listened at dawn or at twilight, Shem Ha Mephorash has a strong ritualistic feel, which, combined with the ferocity of black metal creates this hypnotic,mystic atmosphere. The perfect example of this is the majestic title track, which, in its 15 minutes, compiles the whole essence of the album in one monstrous track. Here is where the black metal influences are heard the most, adding that perfect heavy balance between the aggressive elements and the slow parts.
With their latest release, Mephorash takes you on a dark trip into the true occult music, somewhere so many bands have tried to go these last years, but where only a few have prevailed.
This album is truly a magician’s magnus opus, with hidden messages and symbols mixed with blood and esoterism. A melancholic and scary album at the same time, a contradiction from start to finish, Shem Ha Mephorash glows in darkness with beautiful malevolence, only to prove one more time why black metal can be such a “cursed” music.
1. King of Kings, Lord of Lords
2. Chant of Golgotha
3. Epitome I: Bottomless Infinite
5. Epitome II: The Amrita of Vile Shapes
6. Relics of Elohim
7. 777: Third Woe
8. Shem Ha Mephorash
Mashkelah M’Ralaa – Vocals
Nebiros – Vocals
Mishbar Bovmeph – Guitars/Bass
Tephra Brabeion – Drums