Mamiffer reflect on life cycle, remedy for personal darkness on chilly ‘Brilliant Tabernacle’

Photo by Ethan DeLorenzo

There tends to be a rather direct focus on death on this site, which you have to expect since it comes with the territory. But that’s not all there is to extreme music, just like volume and face-mashing intensity are not musts when it comes to metal. There are the everyday machinations of life that also come into play and inspire, even if we don’t get a lot of beauty here all the time.

Mammifer’s primary creative driver Faith Coloccia never has followed the typical paths when it comes to her music for this project, and that carries over to “The Brilliant Tabernacle,” her latest creation under this banner. The music is immersive and contemplative, certainly not an album that’s going to leave anyone deafened, but that’s never been the point to Mammifer’s work. Here, she celebrates the patterns of life from its fragile creation to the pain we feel along the way, working toward our ultimate end. The central character finds itself rotting and adversely impacted by modern life, only finding union with one’s true soul through immersion in love. Part of what helped inspire this music, which often freak like psychedelic folk combined with spiritual passages, also was formed after the birth of Coloccia’s first child after the last Mamiffer album “The Hope Unseen.” She, along with a group of other musicians, including partner and longtime Mamiffer member Aaron Turner, visit themes of hope, love, support, and surrender on this collection that should stir inside of you some emotions perhaps left buried.

“All That Is Beautiful” starts the record as pianos slowly emerge, drums activate, and Coloccia’s vocals begin their ascent. The music feels breezy and even chamber-friendly, while guitars begin to drone, letting things burns off, while the song ends in a noise pocket. “River of Light” has drums tapping and haunting vocals fluttering while flutes fill the room with air, and static builds. The music hangs overhead and intoxicates, opening the gates for “So That the Heart May Be Known” that has keys dripping and hand drumming. The playing stings and stretches with the main piano line returning and crushing, and the singing increasing its presence. Violin scratches as sleigh bells ring, with the vocals swimming back in before the song bows out.

“Two Hands Together” lets piano spill as Coloccia calls, “In this water, deliver me, child, I grow for you.” She sings of experiencing the baby’s cry over a ceremonial expression, buzzing keys, and an ambiance that feels like a hymn. “To Receive” has a deep Middle Ages character with strong vocal melodies, making your head float along with the words that Coloccia uses to entrance. “Hymn of Eros” has noise churning, woodwinds traveling in from the hills, and the track building itself amid drums circling and keys blending into the scene. Droning digs into your temples while galactic strikes land, and the song slips into the cosmos. “To Be Seen” has pianos bubbling as visions of early morning unfurl, with Coloccia ensuring, “You are one of us.” Violin cuts through as folkish acoustic guitars add texture, organs spread, and all of the elements come to a head. Calming singing sinks into your bloodstream, as the song’s spirit becomes one with the wind as it moves back into the stars.

Mamiffer’s journey has been unpredictable, as every stop along the way has offered something new and substantive, not just a new series of songs. “The Brilliant Tabernacle” follows that tradition and is a record that provides a personal journey on which you can join and experience all of the throes of existence. Coloccia is an artist who always gives full of herself, but she’s never given of her heart and soul like this ever before.

For more on the band, go here:

To buy the album, go here:

For more on the label, go here: