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It's all about the balance - 90%

Byrgan, October 27th, 2010

The Mist began as a thrash group in the late '80s that wasn't excessively aggressive in nature. They're a band that has more timed-out pacing, subtlety and atmosphere than they are about punching you through the speakers with continual violence. If you'd play this for the conservative, blinds-parting old lady across the street, yeah, she might develop early dementia, but compared to other shocking, I-seen-a-ghost extreme metal releases that came out a few years prior, it might not be what's expected coming out of Brazil. It's a little less harsh than Chakal's "Abominable Anno Domini" for reference, though heading towards something along the lines of what Mutilator attempted on their less drastic "Into the Strange" album, except with more pump and panache to back it up.

This was recorded in J.G. Studios along with releases by Sepultura, MX and Witchhammer—all of which had some roughness to their albums. "Phantasmagoria," however, would be one of the first to get an even and "clearer" sounding quality from that former hellhole where noises weren't recorded, they were conjured up. Afterwards, recordings by Sarcofago and Attomica would follow in the '90s, where it was even louder and more pronounced. The sound here is consistent when both speeding up and slowing down, one instrument isn't overbearing in the mix and there are a light amount of effects on top of the instruments to make them sound in sync than recorded separately.

Overall, there are a fair amount of mid-paced sections, but it also occasionally switches up to some faster portions and another pacing that falls in between the two with a kind of gallop or trot. The musical timing is something that follows a successive buildup, and they have an instinct to not hand out too much of one thing and not enough of another. The guitars have a penchant for using higher notes without sounding too upbeat; sometimes it is a little "uppity," so to speak, but nowhere near enough to make me all smiles and put me in a whistlin' mood. They occasionally have a certain amount of underlying melody infused, such as quickly plucking a few single notes while simultaneously steamrolling the way with palm mutes, distortion and a pronounced rumbling and sometimes complex bass.

The rhythms can go from being direct to indirect and also be decently varied, which can be helped out by using dual guitars to give it a certain layered sound at times with overlapping riffs. The leads come about at various opportunities by typically using a few strings to peak the moment, or in a faster, though measured, context by plucking and bending a distinct set of notes typically with a certain amount of harmony. The vocals are partly carried over and have resonation from extreme metal. Korg is still as charismatic as he was in Chakal, with his particular roughened and hoarse voice that uses a mild gruff with more variation attached than you'd expect, such as extending it till it's almost a wail or a croak. It's ambiguous as it's hard to say if he's either putting you in danger, or pleading in exasperation for you to get away; as if by straining and contorting his voice, he's desperately reasoning with you, or by stringing you along, he's setting you up for a deadly trap.

A lot of the infamous "Brazilian-isms" that the country is known for around '85ish to '87 in thrash metal on labels are not completely carried over to here: dirty production, primitive nature, outrageous speed—just everything in excess, because those bands were using what little resources they had. Like Dorsal Atlantica's "Dividir & Conquistar," The Mist were able to effectively produce something that took a sidelined direction to abrasiveness, but at the same time didn't trip up like Holocausto's "Blocked Minds" or Vulcano's "Who Are the True." The band holds down a particular style, and, not only that, manages to do it exceptionally well by having a certain gravitating way about them; like being taken on a controlled ride that unfolds its environment, instead of a spontaneous road trip that goes with the flow. It finds a point where it isn't so conforming or even commercial that ideas are lost or forced. While it could have benefited by taking advantage of a few more leads—with the whole two guitarists and all—there's still a side that shows aggressive thrash moments that will make that head nod, another angle reveals a layer of mood and this also entails plenty of worked-up to emotion to get you as well. Like the band is capable of leading you by taking gradual steps from the moment the first note is struck till the unfortunate wrap up at the end.