MIMORIUM – The Route of Haeresis (2022)REVIEW

Steeped in the oily morass purported by an ancient school of instinctive, chaotic heretical thought the melodic black metal of south-eastern Finnish quintet Mimorium press on for the sake of their own idyll both within and beyond said strictures. Their third full-length release ‘The Route of Haeresis‘ intends a hyper-transgressive railing still readably relevant to the greater anti-cosmic thread of their craft while also reflecting the well above average level of performative and compositional talent in hand. The experience is at once precisely ‘genre music’ to the outsider and distinctively modeled outside of time for we knowing hordes, or, at the very least it is a polished and meaningfully set melodic black metal record crafted to a highly resonant standard.

Formed as a duo between main songwriter/performer Lord Mimorium (Marras) and vocalist Vox Malum circa 2016 with the intent of presenting their own refinements upon the classic ’90s Swedish and Norwegian black metal standards for aggressive melodicism Mimorium made quick work of the next year recording their debut LP (‘Incipit Chaos‘, 2018) which despite its surely programmed drums offered a blueprint of their compositional aptitude for expressive, commanding guitar driven black metal which had some barely noticeable rough edges. From that point we witness zero obstacles in terms of these folks expanding into an impressive quintet for their second LP (‘Blood of Qayin‘, 2020) and finding the right modulation of both melodic and aggressive black metal traits for their vehicle. I’d said as much when giving short review of said album at the time: “[…]impressed with the quality of performances here, these are clean and organized takes that are well produced and generally strike a good balance between true black metal attack and meaningful melodic device.” echoing the dizzying romanticist sentimentality of late 90’s Swedish melodic black metal and the arcane aggression of mid-90’s Norwegian guitarists of a certain standard.

This continues to be their focus on this third album. Think of Dark Funeral‘s debut full-length with Blackmoon on guitars, the pre-‘The Heresy of an Age of Reason‘ records from Thy Primordial, or a less frantically scribbled take on Setherial‘s ‘Nord‘ to start but, while also considering the standards set by the inherently melodic 90’s Finnish black metal zeitgeist. It’d be half-hearted on my part to solely suggest that Mimorium align with tradition as unthinking worship, ‘The Route of Haeresis‘ fundamentally seeks to see the mutation of said tradition through to its naturally glowing endpoint (see: “The Circle of Serpents”) wherein the catch is that the ancient aggression implied is yet a very distant thing and this is not a cheap imitation of the era of No Fashion and such, instead peaking within what most would consider something a bit closer to the standards of a band like Wormwood in terms of cinematic, unshrouded melodic luster. The charge from origin, to infamy and then kinda off to Valinor in the end perceived on my part is of course witness of the process implied in the title of the record, a foreboding process of earned enlightenment through heretical exposition.

Though I could go on about the proper relentless whip-lash displayed in the opening bombast of “Invocation of the Nameless One” to start it is largely a momentum builder, a hard kick into the austere “Mirror Dimension”, the piece which I’d argue most clearly presents the ‘for effect’ consideration of an well developed melodic rhythm guitar arc which isn’t so typically lost in the structuring of the melody itself. It is a first and key mark of a sly hand, an adeptness for the inherently ‘clever’ impact of heavy metal songcraft rather than an aimless mapping of riffs hoping to land upon the brilliance of auld Scandinavian black metal craft through imitation. Not that I don’t enjoy the sort of record which lifts (and only slightly change a few notes) from the best-known classics but, I don’t feel like that is what I’ve gotten from Mimorium herein. Instead they’ve studied the presentation and attack of the best and elevated their own statements to a level which sees beyond the naïve and often stumbling excess of ancient melodic black metal and given it a matured curvature, the first of several songs which resolve with brevity of statement enough that each feels properly unleashed yet contained in statement per ~5-6 minutes each. If nothing else we can immediately recognize a professional recording, unhindered performances, and an intensity with an eye and ear for the rabid dramatism of the ancient ones.

From that bright start there is yet about a ten minute wait for more than play with pacing, staunch as the main riff for “Liberate the Transcendent Essence” is it only really holds its place on the full listen for the sake of the frantic kick of the piece and throatier dual vocal performances. This is arguably where Mimorium are at their more average and I’d lump in the slower, modern atmospheric warmth of “Succumb to Nightmares” in that realm as well, though it is far more sentimental and this adds to the greater variety of the record when returning to it in full. The running order could’ve done without “Liberate…” for my taste but the main reason I’d end up getting an inordinate amount of listening time out of this record would end up being its second half and the effect of it looping back into the first two songs.

As we wheel into the second half of ‘The Route of Haeresis‘ the grey skies and sleepy rain which introduces “Hand of the Heretic” stabs into a different keg, a style which admittedly has more in common with certain Gates of Ishtar releases than some of the more cult Swedish melodic black/death references I could make when parsing the strongly voiced rhythmic authorship here, especially as we press on through Side B with more percussive ‘heavy metal’ statement a la earlier Dawn (“Her Place in Shade”) and the reach for something a bit more peak late 90’s dramatism in the ritualer break in the midst of the stormed-up title track. Mimorium had to go somewhere with the second half of the record, it’d been a few points against the previous album that it’d sort of droned on ’til the relief of death came but… here on ‘The Route of Haeresis‘ it does end up feeling like we’ve landed in a place of resolute satiety, ascension or some manner of enlightening possession which we rarely find in the dark endless void of melodic black metal. This isn’t something I’d experienced with quite extensive ‘comeback’ albums from groups like Mörk Gryning and more recently Eucharist wherein their odes to chaotic evil hurled on unsure where the core experience was yet this record has a very satisfying grand finale, a plateau’d vision in the watery glow of the aforementioned “Circle of Serpents”.

At first the effect of the full listen is quite cleanly presented, if not accessible in nature at a glance but with repeated listening I’d found this was a matter of a holistically consonant experience, a proper melodic black metal session at the very least. It isn’t that Mimorium have found the most original riffs, or the most deafeningly resonant cosmic statement within ‘The Route of Haeresis‘ but the major appeal here is that it all lands without any serious hitch and adds to their discography in a meaningful way. The character of the band, the rhythmic voice and above-average aesthetic of their well-considered craft begins to stand out even more than it already had. That said I don’t think it is an album that’ll transcend the sort of ‘genre music’ reach, they’d have to breach into something wildly commercial to get there, but in terms of serving a rabid and successfully insightful melodic black metal record I think they’ve done a fantastic job with album number three. A high recommendation.

High recommendation. (79/100)

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
TITLE:The Route of Haeresis
LABEL(S):Spread Evil
RELEASE DATE:August 12th, 2022

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