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'Erased By The Dark'
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HARDWARES

MURMUR

Murmur

(Season Of Mist)

Reviewed by : Kelley Simms
Rating : 7.5

The re-emerged Chicago experimental/prog/black metal quartet, MURMUR, are one weird band. On its nine-track self-titled sophomore effort, the music twists and turns and throws you curve balls every step of the way. Seventies prog rock, jazz fusion and improvisational segments are decorated with distorted, swirling crescendos, dense build-ups and frenzied feedback. Murmur’s unique take on the black metal genre makes them intriguing as they’re not afraid to explore and experiment with odd elements such as kooky, avant-garde chaos and Byzantine Monk-like chanting. Their overall sound is swathed in obscure influences of bands such as MAGMA, DUN and ESKATON, who are all part of a progressive rock sub-genre called Zeuhl. Vocalist Matthias Vogels’ singing style consists of short, staccato shouts with a maniacal twang. It’s an acquired taste, but it adds to the twisted nature of the music.

The use of a Fender Rhodes organ plays a prominent part on the album, especially on the PINK FLOYD-influenced instrumental ’Recuerdos,’ which sounds like a cross between ‘Sheep’ and ‘Welcome To The Machine.’ Another noticeable influence is ’70s prog act KING CRIMSON, as their hairy cover version of the British band’s ‘Larks’ Tongues in Aspic’ Part II’ is an ambitious yet admirable effort. However, some of the longer and more expansive tracks, such as the 11-plus minute ‘Al-Malik,’ tend to drag a bit and lose their intrigue factor. Murmur might not yet be up there with fellow Chicagoans YAKUZA and NACHTMYSTIUM, but they have come a long way since their 2010 debut album.




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