The post-metallic folksy doom rhythms of Berlin based all-female prog/post-whatever band Choral Hearse occasionally pair awkwardly with their experimental Chelsea Wolfe-esque vocal style. This inherent awkward feeling within ‘Mire Exhumed’ matures with each listen as it’s stripped down post-rock production sound veils the traditional metal/heavy psych influences at the core of Choral Hearse‘s vision. You’d think vocalist Liaam Iman took influence from Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) more than any doom metal visionary I could name and that affect helps make for a unique nut to crack.
The entirety of ‘Mire Exhumed’ equals the range and stylistic scope of Denver’s pagan post-doom quartet The Flight of Sleipnir if that band’s black metal hiss were replaced with occult rock vocal delivery. Choral Hearse don’t make quite the same lush introduction, and their guitar sound could use an extreme amount of variation, but the song structures and compositional nods to post-punk, black metal, and such are always artful. The record plays like an art/noise/post rock band making extreme metal influenced occult doom music and not quite nailing the harsh vocals or faster paced material. While the instrumentation is roughly sketched at certain points the vocal arrangements often hit impressive, haunting points of interest.
The odd burped vocal line of “Confession” is surely the oddest point of the vocal performance, but Iman’s knack for following twisted rhythms with strength is notable on standout track “Distorted Perception”. Her approach to harsh vocals on “Elucidated” is decidedly not meant to mimic male death/black metal vocal sounds and reaches a similar witch screeching height on “Better Kill the Flies”. It all reminds me of a depraved sludge/noise rock experiment from the 90’s when those vocals kick in and while it may sound ‘ugly’ it sounds like an honestly primal release. My favorite track on ‘Mire Exhumed’ is “A Hideous Revelation” because of the haunting chorus and occult rock feeling, not too far from the folkish 70’s occult tones that Demon Head occasionally dabble in.
The only track that doesn’t work for me is the perhaps the too urgent and slightly unfitting inclusion of “An Abduction”. I think it is too late on the tracklist for it’s harsher experimentation, vocal croaks don’t work for me at all, and some of it’s arrangement feels redundant by the time it rolls around. I think it slightly disrupts the flow of the second half of the album and would better serve as a bonus track or outtake. I found myself really looking forward to the final moments of the record otherwise, with the duo of the psychedelic notions of “Mutation” and the strong memorable closer “Once Again”. ‘Mire Exhumed’ is notable for it’s production sound which seems to fight with the more extreme experiments that Choral Hearse venture into and the result is extra tension within an already rhythmic progressive rock/doom metal hybrid. The rough edges, prettier moments, and ranting post-metal/doom-tinged guitar work make for a compelling listen.
|Released||April 16, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp!||Follow Choral Hearse on Facebook|
|Genres||Progressive Rock, Post-Metal, Doom Metal|
Rituals of dissent. 3.0/5.0
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