Mesmur are one of the best funeral doom bands that have emerged in the last 10 years, and this observation derives from the objective goodness of the first three albums Mesmur (2014), S (2017) and Terrene (2019), all of which were of a high standard and in any case marked by a constant progression from a qualitative point of view on the part of the US band. This, however, is not entirely the case with regard to style, as Mesmur‘s approach to the genre has always been ascribable to its less atmospheric side, coming closer to Mournful Congregatione and Evoken, and, in the end, to say that the sound of Jeremy Lewis and John Devos’s band is a sort of ideal meeting point of two of the bands that belong to the funeral doom pantheon does not seem far-fetched. The answer to the possible question of how legitimate such an assertion is is to be found in this latest album, Chthonic, which demonstrates the level Mesmur has reached with a sound that is closed in on itself and aimed at imprinting a rather dark and oppressive mark, in which just when a melody seems to blossom out of nowhere, the atmospheres become even more excruciating and more emotionally impactful precisely because of their paradoxical anomaly. For example, when the sound opens up in a fleeting yet poignant lead guitar passage halfway through Refraction, I think back to what happens when a cat is about to die and just before closing its eyes forever produces its last, lacerating purr; the established line-up has been the same since 2015, with Lewis (guitar and keyboards) and Devos (drums), who also joined Pantheist some time ago, joined by Australian vocalist Chris G. and Italian bassist Michele Mura, and perhaps this too is an additional element that makes Chthonic one of the best albums to come out in recent times, with much likelihood of remaining so in the year-end reckoning.

2023 – Aesthetic Death