Mnajdra – Mnajdra (Review)

Mnajdra - MnajdraThis is the debut album from US black metal band Mnajdra.

From out of nowhere comes Mnajdra, a 44-minute slice of underworld darkness. This is thick, unfriendly black metal that has subsumed elements of doom and sludge into itself to better portray the utter bleakness and horror of existence.

Mnajdra’s music has a terrifying and immersive intensity to it that’s alluring, despite the potential damage it seems capable of. This is underground black metal that’s all otherworldly atmosphere and grim extremity. It’s the type of thing that will absolutely put off casual explorers of black metal’s virulent underworld, but to the seasoned connoisseur, it’s a rare treat, albeit a venomous one. The music cares for very little other than to mercilessly spread its acidic agenda. Whatever that may be, although I’m sure it’s apocalyptic in nature.

These songs are a caustic blend of raw and harsh dissonance mixed with shimmering doom and engaging melodies. Sometimes the latter are glittering and sharp, whereas at others they’re tense and threatening, with much between. The entire album is wrapped in an esoteric sheen that would be nigh-impenetrable in places, were it not for the skilled compositional skills of the artists behind the band.

Each track has a malignant personality of its own, and Mnajdra is surprisingly varied for such an individual and disconcerting release. It’s not all speed and aggression, for example, as atmospheric moments appear to haunt the listener, and colossal doom structures that consist of banished hopes and dreams climb through the sky, relentlessly sucking in all positivity and light. Occasionally a more traditionally blackened riff cuts through the gloom, and we even get dark melodies that are far brighter than the surrounding material. Its seems that whatever Mnajdra try their hands at, (claws?), they excel, and Mnajdra is a compelling journey into accomplished mood-focused black metal.

Mnajdra have impressed. This is a top quality album of modern black metal that should be thoroughly explored by anybody with a passion for the blackened underground.

Very highly recommended.


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