Merrimack's latest release, ...Of Entropy and Life Denial...
is black metal the way it was meant to be; a sonic assault that harkens back to early days of the second wave of black metal, that's what Merrimack have managed to produce. Don't begin to think that this album is just a mixture of recycled black metal clichés though, because ...Of Entropy and Life Denial...
is much more than that, it is a solid black metal that is more than worth your time.
In its opening seconds the listener is greeted with what can only be described as a chaotic ambience. The guitars slowly fade in playing a simple, harsh lead line before they are greeted by the blast beats that rummage the album. This will occur several more times throughout the album, as Merrimack make excellent use of ambience to break up their attack on the listener. An interesting aspect of this ambience is that they manage to create it without the use of any strings or keys, and rely solely on what they can produce with their respective instruments. ...Of Entropy and Life Denial...
also lacks the reverb that seemed to plague past black metal releases, so all of the instruments with the exception on the bass can be heard properly. In short, the natural ambience that is present combined with the lack of overpowering reverb adds to each of the songs and makes them that much better.
The vocals on the album are handled by Terrorizt and are executed well for the most part. His shrieks are nice and high pitched, and add to the haunting affect of the music. He rarely growls, but when he does, he does so fairly decently; what is meant is that he can't get as low pitch-wise as some of his counterparts (1349, Behemoth) but does a good job nonetheless. On tracks such as "Seraphic Conspiracy" and "Redeem Restless Souls" he does a nice job of coming up with melodies that compliment the music without taking away from, or distracting the listener. If anything negative is to be said about the vocals, it's that there is really not much variety. He either shrieks or growls and his voice rarely changes pitch when he is doing one or the other, making for moments of monotony. However, the times when this occurs are few and far between so it can be overlooked for the most part. One reason they can be overlooked is because of Merrimack's musical interludes within songs. The vocals will often stop for 30 or 40 seconds at a time while the band makes a transition within the song itself, but we'll get to that later.
Terrorizt also handles all of the lyrics for Merrimack. As one can already assume, the lyrics are about Satan and death in general. The lyrics are a downside to the album in terms of originality, but they are written fairly well, despite just being recycled from other death/black metal bands before them.
"Children of the Lord in league, walking unseen
In the multitude amongst the men
Whispering words with a voice from above
With the tongue of a snake, and these are the light of the Lord"
They will remain this way for the entire album, leaving the listener with the same message from track to track. For many this will be a turn off in itself, but the melodies over which these cliché Satan bearing lyrics are presented help to make up for their level of mediocrity. Needless to say, this too is a monotonous aspect of the album, but still, it can be overlooked because of the level of musicianship displayed throughout.
And now on to the reason ...Of Entropy and Life Denial...
stands so very tall, and can be considered such a prolific black metal release: the music.
Chaotic. That would be the most accurate word to describe the guitar work on the album. Guitarists Feyd and Perversifier do an excellent job creating frenzied riffs that walk the line between utter cacophony and melody. On tracks such as "Adiabatic Bonds Of Consanguinity" and "Consecration Of The Temple" the guitars are powerful and make good use of harmonized leads. They often play riffs for a short amount of time before moving on to something completely different; this may come across as annoying (having the riff and rhythm change every 30 seconds or so) or incredibly innovative. For the most part they do a good job of avoiding having to recycle their lines, but every now and again you will be left with a slight feeling of nostalgia. Another part of their playing which shines through is their use of melody (as mentioned earlier). Unlike several other bands that may make a short transition to another riff, or stop altogether in order to switch riffs, Merrimack does it very differently. They often riff for about 40 seconds in between verse’s and choruses in order to switch riffs. This could have come out as a giant mess, but they did it well, and as a result add new elements to each song.
Needless to say the bass is missing from almost the entire album, making some rare appearances here and there. However, when the bass is heard it is following the guitar lines. I'll like to say that the bass provides a wall of sound on which the guitars and vocals can stand. I'd like to say that if the bass wasn't present at all the music would sound too high endy. But I can't. I can't say much of anything about it at all. So let's move on to the drumming.
Necrolith does an excellent job behind the drum kit on this album. He can be alternating blast beats and rolling double bass with simple beats that add to the times when the music gets more melodic. His drum fills aren't anything to behold, but they do their job anyway. One thing that needs to be commented on is his endurance. On "Adiabatic Bonds Of Consanguinity" he can be heard playing almost non-stop for over 18 minutes. His bass drum sound is strong throughout (the song and the album), and his blast beats stand up to those of his rivals.
In conclusion, ...Of Entropy and Life Denial...
is a black metal album that will most likely be overlooked by many in the metal community, and what a shame that is. The album is raw, aggressive, and has just the right amount of melody and chaos. I'd strongly recommend this album to anyone who is looking for new black or death metal.
- Chaos/ Melody
- So much going on with the guitars
- Lack of range in the vocals
- So much going on with the guitars
Standout Tracks: Seraphic Conspiracy, Consecration of the Temple, Adiabatic Bonds of Consanguinity