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Miasma > Changes > Reviews > Sacraphobic
Miasma - Changes

Hellish and enormous - 81%

Sacraphobic, November 16th, 2004

A huge beast lurks among the shadows of an ancient temple, yearning for blood and destruction. Its minions stand in a circle, surrounding a flame of pestilence. One by one, they sacrifice themselves, sacrifice their blood for their master. The monstrosity emerges, and its true, gargantuan size is made known, yet it is still only shadow. All cower in fear. It will devastate all in its path. It won't stop until the last spot of life is bloodily slaughtered upon its horns. This is "Changes" by Miasma.

It's very rare that the drum-production on a brutal death metal album is, well, thin, and not at all powerful. Then again, I suppose it defeats the genre's usual aims; be as heavy, unsubtle and meaningless as an elephant headbutting a tree. This is the first of many indications that Miasma have bags more sophistication than that though; indeed, I imagine they hate stuttery belching bands almost as much as I do. What we have here is drums that are rather tinny. Sure, they're perhaps a little bit too tinny at times, I empathise with those who think so, but this simply isn't the kind of album that wants or needs powerful drum production. This is all about atmosphere, this is all about mightyness in composition, not in aesthetic.

One slow, chugging, doomy passage after another is laid down between bursts of frantic drumming and riffs that lick fire across the mind, all accompanied by low and demonic vocals. Want to be a death metal vocalist? Listen to this guy. The blood of occult ritual oozes from the unstable-sounding Swedish-styled melodies; balefulness incarnate. The ideas "collapse upon one another seemlessly", like the previous reviewer stated, inside narrative frameworks that tend to start off ominous and then build into malevolence, providing me with a strong portrayal of the concept I wrote in the first paragraph. Ever wondered what Therion would've been like in their early days if they'd conjured up their music with Slayer in hell itself? So have Miasma.

There's the odd nasty bit of organ work (wtf is the intro to Schizophrenia supposed to be? Please Miasma, don't ever try to Gospelise Beethoven's 5th again, particularly not as an intro to the best song on your album), though its generally tastefully integrated into the music. There's the odd bit of acoustic guitar to be found as well, but there's certainly no problems with that. The tinny drum-production I mentioned seems to annoy some people. These are the only faults.

Disregarding these imperfections which, frankly, are hardly worth mentioning, this is complex and dark death metal that's conceptually excellent and that possesses atmosphere in abundance. It can stand among most first tier death metal albums you could care to name, without feeling out of place. If you like "Beyond Sanctorum" and you like early Slayer, you'll like this, so go get it.