Review Summary: Neither beginning nor end…
I’d like to think I came to Wit’s End
with some life-changing notion in the back of my mind, but these days it’s harder to ignore the rinse/repeat nature that life, specifically mine has become. Now before we run away with the wrong ideas, misconceptions about exactly what point I’m trying to make I need to provide at least some specifics. Mostly, I have it good, or rather I could have it a lot worse; disclaimers about how particular parties might not have access to music, food, shelter or basic human rights could abound—the takeaway here: I’m grateful. Grateful for the support, the basic needs of life and of music; a facet that’s kept me moving forwards over the last decade or so, regardless of the hurdles that would otherwise prevent smooth sailing. It’s important that I bring my mindset up, for doom metal and particularly the Mizmor brand, is music for moods
Comprising two tracks, each surpassing fourteen minutes, the album shifts through minimal doom-led dirges and anguished reflection before leading the listener down a rabbit-hole of broken kaleidoscope ambience. As a summary, what you’ve just read is reductive and doesn’t really get to the crux of what Wit’s End
offers as a complete piece—descriptions running parallel to nugatory similes of an auditory chalkboard of nothingness. Yet, these are perfectly apt descriptors to describe just under thirty minutes of blackened doom that diverges into less extreme territory. That said, the title track is painstakingly minimal. An expectation of crushing riffs wailing off into the distance is replaced by melancholic strumming, gentle tones slowly ebb under vestiges of spoken word before a lumbering, down-trodden rhythm section punches through the near-silence. A.L.N.’s wailing screams speak volume to the mindset of “Wit’s End”, citing the band’s new music as "an ode to all those who adopt superstitious and grandiose beliefs about mankind, its "spirit," and its place within the cosmos”, citing “I've found myself utterly appalled by the increase in willingness and eagerness to accept misinformation, disinformation, alternative facts, conspiracy theorism, cultism, and religiosity in us as a people. I feel this as a depressing weight, having trekked the better part of ten years from Christianity to atheism.” While the perspective is specific, especially in regards to A.L.N. most listeners can find their own trajectory through the motif; whether that’s correlated by mental health, pandemics, or a thousand other scenarios Wit’s End
is palpable and molded to our moods
with sheer atmospheric tension.
The second of the album’s two tracks, “Pareidolia” is the more formless. Like a whirl of smoke the ambience foundation to which it’s centered flows outward, taking on similar shapes as it ascends into the next and the next and the next… This is not a gripe, but by design “Pareidolia” is a collection of ideas, fracturing in and out of itself while haunting moods clash into well-thought dissonant atmospheres. The effect is unnerving, deliberate and focused into the ever-changing forms to which these ambient progressions take shape.
What Wit’s End
lacks as a whole is immediacy, relying instead on its minimalistic tropes to carry the listener from one end to the other, atmosphere in tow. This might make for an introspective, immersive style listen, but unfortunately that doesn’t exactly make Wit’s End
the most interesting
release. Comprehensively, Mizmor’s latest slab of music does do the job, but when compared to both past Mizmor albums and other records within the genre, Wit’s End
doesn’t exactly measure well. Thankfully, Mizmor isn’t likely to give up progressing within their own stylistic framework. In many ways Wit’s End
is a frustrating thought composed into musical form for all of us to feel
. Mizmor’s 2022 effort is less an end and more likely a middle chapter as the plot develops.