Review 2111 : Merrimack – Of Grace and Gravity – English

Merrimack crawls out of the shadows.

Founded in 1994 in the Île de France region by Perversifier (guitar), the band that brings together Daethorn (bass, Daethorn, Ritualization), Blastum (drums, Dawohl, Grist, Nihïlanth, Ritualization…), A.K. (guitar, Decline of the I, Vorkreist) and Vestal (vocals, Anus Mundi) celebrates its 30th anniversary by releasing Of Grace and Gravity, its sixth album, on Season of Mist.

Sulphurean Synods immediately sweeps us along in its flood of dissonant blackness, where the vocalist pours out all his hatred under a lively rhythm, punctuated by a few slightly calmer, but just as heady, passages. The sound gradually transforms into a haunting lament, before returning to more raw eruptions leading us to Sublunar Despondency and its very cold but airy almost haunting approach, which explodes from time to time before returning to its oppressive tenebrous languor, on which the vocalist becomes almost melancholic, before letting Dead and Distant Clamors return to more aggressive riffs. An anguishing gloom slowly sets in, draping the composition in its veil of apathy martyred by shifting drums and morbid vocal parts, while Wounds that Heal immediately offers us more accessible melodies under a motivating rhythm. The band weave their contrast with a visceral, almost occult mastery, playing with harmonics that can be found in both slowness and acceleration, then it’s with Starving Crowns that the musicians hypnotize us in their relatively simple lethargic canvas before adding other elements. It blazes on while retaining its heavy atmosphere, taking advantage of its eight-minute duration to vary the intensity before giving way to Under the Aimless Spheres, where the rhythm is more virulent from the outset. The track is rooted in the band’s Old School roots, giving us rest only to be trampled underfoot later on, before leaving us to contemplate the soothing final, disturbed by the screams and then the start of Embalmer’s Wine, the final composition, which progresses at its own pace into the darkness, first accompanied by gentleness, then overlaid with the heavy, lacerating saturation that rages almost throughout this instrumental.

Merrimack‘s return to the French scene was eagerly awaited. Their music has certainly evolved, allowing more room for soothing harmonies, but it’s with a striking contrast that Of Grace and Gravity rages on, letting the band show us both their rage and their melancholy.


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