MIZMOR – Wit’s End (2022)REVIEW

By way of rhythms as listless as the testimony of existential collapse that precedes them Portland, Oregon-based blackened experimental extreme doom metal artist Mizmor [מזמור] protests the suffocating arise of unthinking masses, an earnest and well-spoken complaint alongside all that’d whip upon his corporeality these last couple of years. The fifteen minute “Wit’s End” is largely a showcase for this poetic release and the major feature of the artist’s latest EP of the same title, to be received as both bigger-picture observation braced by personal statement rather than an voicing of divisive personal intellectual elitism. There is yet some easy fealty earned in these words, an Atheistic point of view addressing disappointment with anti-scientific, reactionary sentiments spreading across the globe on a massive scale, usually lead by spiritual leadership and the usual insidious benefactors. The artist’s long walk from Christianity to Atheism in the span of a decade now meeting face-to-face with a world having lost all sense of reason will be most profound amongst those whom have been there to witness both the thoughtful sojourn of A.L.N. and the decline of mankind in tandem. This is reason enough to connect with ‘Wit’s End‘ even if for only a few listens, as the substance available at face value (ah via the “Where them riffs at?” mindset) within the half hour EP is otherwise fairly lite.

Formed as a solo lo-fi blend of black/death voiced, heavily atmosphere-driven and oft-sludging doom metal circa 2012, what’d built the current reputation for Mizmor came by way of the experimental edge of then Salem-borne musician A.L.N., an artist who’d featured in the late 2000’s/early 2010’s acts Sorceress and Urzeit. In terms of 2012-2019 releases the greater progression of style towards ‘Cairn‘ (2019) is covered well enough in my review of said album, which’d rated highly and stuck with me well enough throughout that year. The style of the project could be loosely compared to goals shared by Yith, Usnea, and to some very loose degree Bell Witch‘s earlier sludge-death/doom side. Provenance is useful for the sake of some context but not entirely relevant to the focused presentation of ‘Wit’s End‘, a release which is split between Side A‘s conceptual piece and an equal length backwards-whirring reel’d mood piece over on Side B. I suggest this because this EP feels like it’ll appeal most to folks already familiar with the artist’s heavier work who’d likewise enjoyed the unexpectedly divergent drone-ambient collaboration with Andrew Black (‘Dialetheia‘, 2020) as ‘Wit’s End‘ uses a blended palette of past events for some enriched dejection and intimacy herein.

Although I am not as impressed by “Wit’s End” as much as the material on ‘Cairn‘, the composition is fairly direct in progression, the production values are expectedly rich (via home studio recording) yet appropriately dire-toned and spacious. What’d helped the experience stick in mind comes by way of the full audio-visual experience which includes an LP/DVD, CD/DVD or Cassette/Digital option which features an animated music video (via Zev Deans, see: teaser video) for the song; This video was originally commissioned as part of Roadburn Redux in early 2021 and isn’t available otherwise. The animation does somewhat more direct work in directing the concept of the piece, that the human condition is encoded for catastrophic failure despite apparent evolutionary ‘progress’ beyond spontaneous generation of life and this is arguably evident by way of readily observable devolution within human cognition and societal efficacy at points of extreme overpopulation; As competition arises amongst crowded, ineffective participants this makes for even more effective stirs of mass hysteria and increased biologic sensitivity. As environmental dissolution becomes exponential to the point of equally drastic visibility, the species cannot possibly react within the geologic timescale needed to survive. It isn’t the most direct correlation to present through frustrated testimonial but it makes sense with a bit of explanation and the piece’s mood is fitting accompaniment for the presented sentiment.

Side B consists of “Pareidolia”, a ~14 minute piece of reverse vacuumed experimentation that sounds somewhat like a neofolk piece modulated to some extreme degree. Any observation on the piece might be ironic due to its title, suggesting human tendency to seek and perhaps see, with some delusion, familiar patterns within unrelated instances. The song itself is ethereal, robust in its cathedralesque resonance and fascinating as it unravels into strongest presence within the last third. Thought I prefer the more direct, heavier experience Mizmor typically bring the mood and timbre of this second half of ‘Wit’s End‘ makes good sense in revolving appearance with the title track. The full listen isn’t necessarily the ideal Rosetta stone for this artists work but it is an admirable side-step into conceptual expression, a strong connection made between cerebral messaging and emotional outlet. As a fan of all manner of extreme doom metal it isn’t thrilling in terms of performance but the idea and mood generated is yet inspired. A moderately high recommendation.

Moderately high recommendation. (75/100)

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
TITLE:Wit’s End [EP]
LABEL(S):Gilead Media
RELEASE DATE:January 14th, 2022


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