Misanthur – Ephemeris (Review)

Misanthur - EphemerisThis is the debut album from Polish black metallers Misanthur.

Ephemeris offers a 56-minute journey into darkness. Spreading itself across a range of styles and genres, including post-black metal, dark ambient, noise, doom, jazz, and industrial, the album is a multifaceted collection of apocalyptic soundscapes brought to vibrant life by a talented act.

This is a modern interpretation of black metal, one which takes elements of various metal and non-metal styles into its corrupt embrace. It’s a sophisticated work that is just as comfortable delivering blistering blast beats as it is crushing doom, playfully menacing jazz, or atmospheric grandeur. The modern production allows every part of the songs to breathe, and I like very much that you can hear the bass guitar’s contributions.

The core of black metal that sits at the heart Misanthur is sharp and aggressive. It’s the sort of assault that’s fuelled by despair and loathing for the human condition. There’s a depressive black metal streak here, but one that is offset by the rest of the band’s influences, ultimately contributing to the post-blackened whole. I also really like the liberal use of tastefully deployed doom elements; frequently parts of these songs are slow, haunting, and filled with such a feeling of hopelessness that you can almost touch it.

The songs are involved and well-crafted. They inhabit a range of moods, paces, feels, and textures, all of which are dark and emotive. Misanthur’s use of melody is instantly appealing, yet stays with you far longer than you might initially expect. The band create grim vistas of detailed darkness with ease, and their realm is one that’s well-worth taking the time to explore.

Vocally the band occupy just as much space as they do with the music. Screams, shouts, growls, clean singing, and more besides are all delivered with passion and skill. There’s also a guest singer on Essence that’s exceptional, and both her vocals and the song as a whole act as somewhat of a centrepiece for the album.

Ephemeris is a thoughtful, sophisticated work of dark blackened art. Despite this, the band also know when to give vent to their inner daemon and lash out with primal fury. Emotive, atmospheric, engaging, and thoroughly compelling, Ephemeris is a keeper. Misanthur have seriously impressed.

Essential listening.

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