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It’s been a while since death metal has risen from the grave again and we’ve been bombed with bands aping Entombed, Dismember, Death and so on; something I’m definitely not very fond of (why listen to those if you can spin the classics instead?). Given the huge amount death metal bands that have popped up it’s easy to lose track of what’s worth hearing and whatnot, but at last Mefitis are a very refreshing band. They undeniably fall in the “retro” category, but not in the ways you’d most likely expect.
If you can picture a blend of the labyrinthine direction of early At The Gates with some satanic overtones of Necrophobic and an unorthodox Finnish death metal flavor put on top, then Mefitis should very much be your thing. The result goes beyond the typical death metal worship through a massive amount of tremolo riffs that are as windy as they are physically dominant. For some quick examples, “Grieving the Gestalt” should immediately recall Slumber of the Forgotten Eyes thanks to that dominant opening riff-attack and “Heretical Heir” might have been a lost Necrophobic track, although it’s played with such an intensity that has more in common with Sentenced’s North from Here than anything else.
Since Emberdawn doesn’t benefit from a production that makes the riffs sound larger than they actually are, it all comes down to the interplay between the two musicians that matters. You can bet that these are two talented folks – they manage to connect riffs of different auras to each other with surprisingly good results. The title track evokes the same claustrophobic madness that was present on The Red in the Sky is Ours as it undergoes several tempo changes through a series of twisted riffs while some of the eeriest howls even bring to mind Lindberg’s tortured wails. If that’s not worth certain amount of praise then I don’t know what is – to sum things up: Emberdawn doesn’t just draw influences from the right kind of bands but it’s played with such conviction that I cannot possibly doubt the passion that Mefitis possess.
The tales of Emberdawn get expressed through a different series of vocals; ranging from thin shrieks to dominant shouts and aggressive growls. Obviously this tactic prevents any one dimensional effects to occur in the vocal department, but I do feel that the vocal lines are somewhat too experimental at this point. While the shouts and growls sound more convincing than the shrieks, I hope the band will figure out more what will work best on a next record… whenever that will be. If anything I was surprised by the two chanted compositions that were devoid of any riff-driven mayhem and interrupted the flow of this record. This isn’t too much of an issue, but obviously worth to point out.
For years I had trouble putting into words what I was hoping for regarding new death metal bands aping the styles of old, yet Mefitis have delivered what I was somehow hoping for. Refreshing, yet familiar and riff-driven, yet song-oriented, Mefitis are definitely a band worth keeping an eye on.
Release date: August 13th, 2019
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