Mesarthim dash into stars and galaxies, create expansive black metal on warm ‘CLG J02182–05102’

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m never going to get to go to outer space, at least not in my physical body. Jeff Bezos isn’t going to hand me a free ticket to travel into the stars aboard his dick rocket, and I’m not about to start a career as an astronaut, so it’s looking pretty slim for me. Luckily, the imagination is one hell of a tool.

The two mysterious entities that inhabit cosmic black metal/electronic project Mesarthim also have very active brains, and they’ve poured that into their music, the latest dose coming on “CLG J02182–05102,” a title that will reward you richly if you pop that into Google. The record is named after a deep galaxy cluster discovered in 2010 that astronomers were shocked to discover is incredibly modern and had elements that were unexpectedly young. That holds tons of possibilities from a space search standpoint, but as far as the music is concerned, its prospects also are limitless. Yes, this falls under the black metal spectrum, but it’s hardly grim and devious. Instead, the music on these six tracks can be melodically explosive, damn near poppy, and a blast to hear and absorb as it helps supercharge your own mental capacity into how far you can travel, even if just in your mind.

“A Generation of Star Birth – Part I” melts open, immediately delivering drama as the vocals smear and the synth sweeps. Keys trickle as a fantastical gaze hangs over, making your blood race, and then the guitars awaken and burn with everything coming to a head and scorching out. “Infinite Density” delivers more gaping synth and a pounding that eats away at you, with the vocals scraping away as the intensity builds. Everything is so infectious as the guitars take off, and the playing lathers with speed, sending great swaths of color across the sky as the energy explodes in a gust. “Tidal Warping” splits open with waving synth and growls ripping into your midsection. The leads launch and spread their wings as the other elements collect and bubble as gigantic melodies flex their muscles, overtaking your senses and taking you on a magical adventure.

“Nucleation Seed” is a quick instrumental that settles into your dreams and cascades into alien terrains to this point unexplored, and then it’s into “A Manipulation of Numbers – Part II (Vacuum Decay)” that is one of the poppiest black metal songs you’ll hear this year. Or ever. Synth and rattling beats set the stage, while the croaked growls have a rap-like cadence to them as they sprinkle across the land. The music explodes into melodies you cannot shake as everything feels spacious and even joyous, increasing your heart rate as the track ends in a jolt. “A Generation of Star Birth – Part II” ends the album, starting as a space gush as keys and drums pace, and lathering shrieks have their way with your imagination. It feels like fires somehow are raging amid the stars as liturgical organs change the attitude, the playing heats up, and the elements swirl, finally landing in a vortex of mystery.

If you require brutality from your black metal records, Mesarthim’s “CLG J02182–05102” likely isn’t going to land very well with you. For the rest of us who don’t have such rigid standards, what awaits is one of the most dramatic and enthralling albums ever to come out of the cosmic black metal circle, something that might even register with non-metal fans provided they can handle the shrieks and growls. This is one hell of a journey, one that reaches across galaxies and leaves you feeling energized and refreshed, which you’re not going to get with every metal record.

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