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Beautiful album - 81%

atanamar, July 14th, 2009

I mostly think and write about music while I ride the train to work. I'm fortunate that for most of my journey I ride alongside the mighty Hudson river. You can't beat a healthy dose of nature while you commute. The new Deafest split with Mirovia is a perfect accompaniment for the foggy vista on this particular morning.

Deafest are ambient black metal of the eco-friendly variety. Here, the melodic majesty of this music is perfectly paired with the ambient progressive instrumental tunes of Mirovia.

Mirovia posses a musical aesthetic that brings to mind the mighty Mono(Japan). The predominantly clean guitar melodies twist and shimmer with a beauty that could easily be movie soundtrack material. Occasional samples of spoken word or the eerie sounds of nature add to the melancholic vibe. At times the guitar phrasing shows glimpses of Gustavo Santaolalla's genius. Good stuff.

Deafest are now pushing the boundaries of black metal. I honestly feel that this music has transcended the constraints of the "one man with a drum machine" aesthetic. The melodies here are first rate. The instrumental "Dynamic Sky" is simply amazing. Sure, the style is not earth shatteringly unique, but the quality is absurd. I can only compare the guitar work here to the best moments of Wolves In The Throne Room. Again, the ambient clean passages are excellent. The mournful black metal screeches are a perfect expression of the lyrical content. Pair these tunes with a bass player and a competent drummer and I could easily see Deafest signed to a Southern Lord or Hydra Head.

The description of this split says "to connect the two very different musical styles, the album contains both bands' interpretations of each others riffs/melodies." This experiment works quite well. Mirovia clearly step out of their comfort zone to incorporate some distortion into their style. Deafest adeptly use this as an excuse to expand their ambient ambitions, with excellent results.

My only nipick with the split is that it could have benefited from a proper mastering, but it's a minor qualm.

The best thing about this album is that it's free. Deafest have made it available for download on their website. You've really got no excuse not to check it out.

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