PICK OF THE WEEK: Mesmur reach beyond our plane into mystery on progressive dream ‘Chthonic’

I have no idea if there is any level of existence beyond this plane, and despite being raised in a Catholic environment, my mind never was made up. Having since eschewed all strains of that belief system, the thought of such a thing has taken on a different tone, as I wonder where we could end up if life on earth isn’t truly the end and who might be watching our every step. It’s sometimes chilling to imagine.

Funeral doom dreamers Mesmur were on that line of thinking when creating “Chthonic,” their fourth album to date. Over five tracks and 48 minutes, the internationally based band—vocalist Chris G, guitarist/synth player Jeremy L, bassist Michele M, drummer John D—truly pushed into the beyond to color in this journey. The increased use of cosmic synth and contributions from Brianne Vieira (viola and cello) and Kostas Panagiotou (organs) of fellow funeral doom act Pantheist make this one of the most realized and imaginative of the entire Mesmur catalog. Progressively, this is a mammoth record. Hairs will stand on your neck, strange chills will move up your spine, and the energy of the stars and whatever beings lie beyond fills you with possibilities you perhaps never considered before. 

“Chthonic (Prelude)” jars open, churning with mournful tidings, bubbling into a spacey aura that leads to “Refraction” that greets with chilling synth swirls. Growls mar as the pace burns, feeling burly and hazy, the keys adding a glaze of atmosphere. The playing gets more crushing and imaginative, and the growls wrench as the elements take off, moving into isolated keys that sweep among the planets. The playing tingles as the power increases, striking a murky tone that drains out at the end. “Petroglyph” makes your senses activate, the band slowly trudging as mystical carnage is unleashed, and the melodies dig into deep sorrow. The growls turn cavernous as the music stretches over the cosmos, making your cells react to each movement, the pressure continuing to mount. The growls challenge wills, eerie sounds increase their presence, and the final strains head deep into the universe.

“Passage” is the longest track, running 18:57 as the tendrils begin to branch in calculated fashion, the growls burning, your brain feeling like it’s melting out of your ears before cooler winds blow. The playing bleeds as the vocals sink their teeth deeper, clean guitars arriving and bringing a misleading sense of calm, the playing feeling like it’s dripping in from another dimension. The guitars then add crunch, the melodies soar, and voices warble, adding confusion and strangeness, the steam wilting your flesh. The pace crawls into the void, and a final gust of visceral mashing lands hard, eventually tunneling out into alien terrain. Closer “Chthonic (Coda)” enters liturgically, organs ringing out, the clouds parting to let through beams of light. The atmosphere feels like a soul rising to the heavens, then guitars open and bleed, feeling like a dirge that stings openly and solemnly. Zaps fill the sky as the stratosphere crumbles, leaving hypnotic sounds to make way for disintegration.

Mesmur reaching into the spirit world to color the body and being of “Chthonic” makes absolute sense just from hearing the music, which feels like it reaches far beyond to tell its tales. The deeper immersion into progressive waters and the extraterrestrial elements that smear over these five songs feels like a spiritual journey to touch the face of those existing beyond. It’s a powerful, chilling record, Mesmur’s most imaginative and satisfying creation.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/mesmurdoom

To buy the album, go here: https://www.aestheticdeath.com/releases.php?mode=singleitem&albumid=5799

Or here: https://solitudeproductions.bandcamp.com/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.aestheticdeath.com/

And here: https://www.facebook.com/solitudeprod

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