Released: 2013, Pesanta Urfolk
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Hailing from Salem, Merkstave have become quite a force to be reckoned with. Having released two well received demos prior to with their heavily textured take on Funeral Doom, this release serves as a reprise of their former work that unfortunately will never be beaten since the quartet broke up piror to the release.
‘Lament of The Gods Part 1’ unravels slowly with a melodic use of guitar strumming and brooding drums during the first few minutes, before the demonic growls erupt from the depths of the weighty sounding instrumentation. The Doom sounding pace keeps everything locked in before the drums unexpectedly speed up with clean vocals underlying the ferocity of shrieks and growls.
Part 2 of this huge sounding beast plays out in a similar fashion with the guitars directing the dense sounding imagery forward with fortifying growls and a sludge sounding bass. The sonic driven guitar layers work well at providing density to the track’s raw sounding essence before lunging into some chaotic drum work and harmonics.
Polishing everything off with ‘Spawn of A Lower Star’, the relentless use of sinister sounding riffs and downbeat drums maintains to the opaque sounding richness of the earlier tracks. The closure also evokes more melody from the guitars, offering up an interesting contrast to the more primal sounding rawness of their heavier dynamics, before dispersing into some much needed relief within the piano section at the end.
This was an album that was big in scope and vast in its terrain of influences.
Some may find this overwhelming and tiresome, however the record didn’t feel pretensions or overindulgent.
The band’s ability to carve barren wastelands and desolate scenery in your mind’s eye is exactly the kind of quality that demands your time and attention. This made everything feel more like a journey than just a collection of hard hitting songs and although it may require several spins, the experience you’re left with afterwards is nothing short of rewarding.
Review by Ben Spencer