Black metal duo Mesarthim digs further into sprawling cosmos for inspiration on vast ‘Arrival’

Heavy metal is increasingly getting more influenced by what’s going on beyond our planet, and why not as there’s a vast universe from which to discover ideas and inspiration. The more spacey styles of metal have clicked with me for sure, as I’m willing to give anyone taking such sonic sojourns a try because I’ve always been fascinated by the galaxy.

Australian duo Mesarthim has been at the forefront of the movement the past decade, and they return with “Arrival,” their seventh full-length album. The band—each member simply goes by . —has been averaging about a record a year since their 2015 debut “Isolate,” and they’ve kept things mysterious and heavily flowing into worlds unknown and unexplored. Here, we get a seven-track installment of the “Arrival” adventure as well as the sequel to a track from one of their earlier EPs. The playing floods with imagination and carnage, electronic impulses glowing, your nerve endings challenged along the way.

“Arrival Pt 1” is a cosmic awakening, synth glowing like golden edges around gray clouds, fizzling into the dark and into “Arrival Pt 2” that bursts open with life. They keys remain thick and mesmerizing, the shrieks opening cauldrons of lava and pouring it generously. Keys trickle as the pace leans into calmer winds, and then a sweep back into fire heats the environment and surges past the stars. “Arrival Pt 3” blisters as a synth gaze collects, and fiery shrieks send daggers flying. Glorious keys and strange beats combine, gusting into a speedy pace, notes pulsing as energy crests and crashes, bursting with strong energies that envelope your mind. “Arrival Pt 4” is a quick instrumental piece with pulsating keys and a true sci-fi vibe, blurring through the skies and coming to a spacious end. “Arrival Pt 5” launches synth gusts and crunching shrieks, the melodic rush making blood surge and hearts race, jolting into melting power. Synth strings add to the swoon and turn neon, fading into a maw of blackness.

“Arrival Pt 6” runs a healthy 10:02 and explodes on sight, morse code blipping in the night, shrieks storming behind that mysterious messaging. The playing liquifies and feels unsettlingly isolated, eventually trudging through glimmering keys as the tempo jars the gas pedal, beats hammer, and the body races for dissolution in the clouds. “Arrival Pt 7” brings in synth sprawl and soothing space clouds full of alien materials and a shift into the unknown. Closer “Type IV” is the longest track at 16:58, and it sonically stands apart some from the seven “Arrival” cuts. It’s a sequel to “Type III” that is on 2016’s EP of the same name. A regal open slides into synth storming that sends gentle precipitation, and then the fury arrives as shrieks tear open the serenity. The playing drills into the universe, a full gush slips into strange worlds, and the transmissions fire away, jarring your comfort loose. Keys dazzle as we head into downtuned guitars and boiling aggression that sinks in its teeth, serenity gets clobbered by panic, and the final lightning bolts burn holes and leave smoke behind.

The mysterious duo behind Mesarthim continue to mesmerize on “Arrival,” a further exploration into the heart of cosmic black metal and that can let you have a mental adventure of your own. Just like the rest of their catalog, you can get lost in this stuff, especially while enjoying some choice mind-altering substances, and every visit with this music unfurls something different. This is another inventive chapter for this band that has an entire universe to mine for inspiration, bringing to our human ears a sojourn we could not have imagined without Mesarthim’s music.  

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

To buy the album, go here: https://www.sound-cave.com/

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

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