Saturday, June 22, 2024

Mòr - Hear the Hour Nearing!

The cover of this record is extremely primal and evocative, several forces of nature colliding in an elemental cataclysm, and I'm happy to hear that the music actually follows through with this. Blistering black metal which manages to watch the fine line between crisp clarity and unremitting, raw ferocity, this French duo is clearly not interesting in taking any prisoners and keeps any sentimentality to a minimum as they tear and thunder their way across 44 minutes and nine tracks. Not to say they don't have a melodic side to them, in tracks like "Eden" you will hear veritable explosions of higher-picked note progressions that can invoke the Romance and melancholy of the style, and they can also perform at a more moderate, atmospheric pace as they do as they travel the "Third Path" or the percussion-free instrumental "Cave of Shadows."

The real star here is the production, especially when their blazing forward at a dizzying clip, there's just a percussive edge to the rhythm guitars and drums in tandem that really stands out. Without exception, most of my favorite moments throughout are when they are at their most agile, whether it's the scathing and dissonant, or the more dour and melodic passages like "Letter of Loss". The slower, spacious stuff does give a good counterbalance so the listener isn't drubbed into monotony, but I found that after a few moments it doesn't anything quite as thrilling on offer. But the tones remain choppy and soil-stricken, like tornados of soggy earth being whipped about a desolate plain, and they even have a nice muddy sound on some of the cleaner, lightly distorted guitars (bridge to "Letter of Loss") that fit very well. There's even a little bit of a death metal mentality to some of the riffing patterns although they never break the black metal character. Rasps are huge and atrocious and resonate out over the stormy substrate of the guitars, and the drumming is a whiplash-inducing surge.

The band is nowhere near as dissonant and unusual a something like a Blut Aus Nord, but if you can imagine that band headed in a more straightforward blasting Euro BM direction, this wouldn't be too far off the mark. Hear the Hour Nearing! lives up to its cautionary title, being a tempestuous, turbulent experience which has just enough harmonic hooks coursing through the pulsing pandemonium of its inception. A few of the slower tunes do let it down somewhat, but there are about a half dozen ragers here that will appeal to fans of black metal which might be considered a balance of 'thinking man' and 'brute', brash and explosive but never stupid.

Verdict: Win [7.75/10]

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