Afer enjoying 2017’s memorable Lethean Lament, Mavradoxa have now returned with a shorter album, (43 minutes vs its predecessor’s 62 minutes), that sees them focused, lean, and firing on all cylinders.
Expressive and atmospheric, as well as taking on an increased progressive feel in places, Nightmarrow is a highly melodic and emotive listen. Some of the leads hark back to classic metal, which is a nice touch in a style that frequently eschews anything like this. The amount of duelling guitars on Nightmarrow is above and beyond what you would expect, and I can’t help but really like it.
The music has an organic, earthy feel to it that’s raw and almost feels improvised in places. It isn’t of course, but there’s a looseness to the music, (in a positive way), that sounds natural and unforced, almost as if the songs have coalesced of their own free will rather than being written and consciously constructed.
Nightmarrow is a textured release as the band know when to inject lighter, introspective moments, as well as a touch of folk here and there. Additionally, the progressive elements allow the band a freer hand to explore different avenues over the songs, and each track here has something of its own to offer the listener. Depth and nuance are included as part of the songwriting quite naturally, and no matter how harsh the music becomes, there’s always something a bit more going on than sheer aggression just for the sake of it.
It’s great to hear Mavradoxa continue to develop their own sound on Nightmarrow and once more progress down the lesser-trodden path towards individuality. The band are sounding more and more like themselves, and in a crowded black metal scene that’s no easy feat to achieve.
Nightmarrow is a very strong follow up to a very strong second album. Very highly recommended for anyone with a taste for black metal with real personality and character.