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Almost continuous whirlwind noise-guitar BM without beginning or end - 85%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, July 13th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2020, Digital, Independent (Bandcamp)

Who'd have thought that such exceptionally cold and extremely brutal and crushing raw black metal could have come out of a country not usually associated with blizzards and snowstorms - a country that instead has hot deserts and sandstorms - a country like Iraq? Only into their second major release and already mystery horde Mulla have perfected their style of churning, grinding chainsaw-noise BM tremolo guitar racket into a fine art that recalls classic Norwegian 1990s black metal acts like Burzum and Darkthrone. True, on this EP Mulla only offer two songs short of a total running time of 27 minutes and the entire recording ends all too suddenly - but with the unstable political situation in their home country Iraq, with foreign military occupation and the ever-present threat of extremist religious fanatics like ISIS and al Qa'eda armed to the teeth with weapons, a band's gotta do what changing and potentially dangerous circumstances limit it to do.

On both the two tracks the music is a continuous whirlwind of the most blisteringly raw and scourging pointillist BM noise guitar corrosion, going on and on until the music must have worn down entire mountain ranges in less than half an hour. The whirlwind twists and turns, coughing out powerful steely acid-sting guitar drone, stern and relentless riffing and rhythms, and above all those irritable crabby demon voices. The two songs may be very forbidding but their riffs are quite catchy and hooky.

While Track 1 is a good straight-out demonstration of almost continuous raw blizzard guitar noise, Track 2 has more atmosphere (no doubt helped by samples of blowy Arctic winds) and in parts has even an experimental attitude to drawing out and manipulating highly corrosive guitar tone drones. The evil voice appears to be presiding over an unspeakably horrific sacrificial ritual while human victims quaver in a cramped cage. The riffs may not be much out of the ordinary and for some odd reason I feel that I've heard many of them in other BM folks' songs and album, but that churning steel sound gives those riffs a bristling aggression and sheer raw energy. Even solo lead guitar in later parts of Track 2 draws energy and passion from those corrosive raw riffs.

Though the songs are uneven in length, and one of these songs could have given up a few minutes of music and lyrics to the other, they work well as both individual tracks that happen to be on the same album or as parts of a highly immersive and darkly evil sonic universe where a roaring noise chaos without beginning or end has been circulating continuously. If there is one thing I'd have liked to hear a bit more of, this would be a bit more experimentation with the sound, the textures and the speed of the chaotic guitar maelstrom: slowing it down, speeding it up, making it louder or softer, and emphasising the cutting sharpness of the guitar tones to give the monster a bit more variety and dynamism. But as it is, this recording is as evil as it damn well gets!