Andrew Shell’s band Mazikeen from Australia has started to release singles three years ago, and now the first full-length album is presented in 2020. In the beginning they described their music as blackened death metal, but now it’s based rather on symphonic black, than death foundation. “The Solace of Death” is a long album and even if it is overall coherent and logical, a couple of longest songs (like “Apostate” and “Vexation Through The Golden Sun”) can be easily divided, besides, the change of tempo encourages it.
The release is melodic and sounds comparatively easy, but in truth, the unclean sound negatively affects the audibility of instruments, so the whole perception of the songs is quite messy. The most original songs are also the longest ones, they are full of mood changes and atmospheric alterations (especially on the song “Vexation Through The Golden Sun”). The material isn’t innovative, but thanks to some stylistic rules (change of rhythm, recitals, various extreme vocal range, atmospheric keyboards), it is not too boring or some clone album. The closest inspiration for Mazekeen is undoubtedly Dissection, so for good reason they chose them as one of the cover songs.
The synthesizers are an important part on this record, but due to blurred sound, they can’t properly convey the essential ambiance, and they even create some chaotic discordance. In “Vexation Through The Golden Sun” the synths form the psychedelic aura, and the song surprisingly ends like industrial black metal piece (but the acoustic guitar provides this massive song with some sort of melancholy). The singing of James Cronovras fits right into the music with its aggression, which is very notable on “Fractricide”, it is intense and moderately emotional. Apart from the band’s constant singer, there are three more invited vocalists (Yosh Young, Ian McLean and Ashahalasin).
The most important part is guitar solo work, solos are not overloaded with technical precision, but they are not too primitive as well (as it often happens in raw black metal). The instrumental songs (“Harrowing Cessation” and piano-based “Mors Vincit Omnia”) are interconnected. “Psychotic Reign” is the slowest song on the record, but even there is a slight pace change in the end. “Cerulean last Night” is a classical contemplative symphonic black metal example with a long guitar solo. So, without further experiments, the album ends on that note till the cover songs.
They chose the songs of Mayhem, Dissection, Dimmu Borgir and Darkthrone, and the cover songs are classically performed. These are not symphonic (except Dimmu Borgir), like their original material, and no surprises here or original interpretations. Was it worth it, to add four covers and making the album so long (1:17), that’s matter of opinion, but if we set aside its length, chaotic nature and unclean sound, then Mazikeen released quite listenable debut album.
Release date (CD): June 1st, 2020
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