Album Reviews : Myraeth – In Glorious Death
Hailing from New South Wales, Sydney based band Myraeth are a gothic/doom metal band that is still relatively new to the scene, having formed in 2009 and releasing their independent debut EP Retribution in 2010. Within the first thirty seconds of their first full-length album, In Glorious Death, you can tell you’re in for something different with this band. In the opening track “Monarch” alone, the drumming and heavily distorted riffs of Christian Raw and Max Vandyke respectively accompany the harsh, brutal vocals of Ryan Casey, and the keys and violin work of Samantha Kempster, who also lends her unique, clean vocal set to the band. They build a sound almost symphonic in its style, but different enough from traditional gothic and doom metal to not be simply passed off as either.
The music is highly atmospheric, made only better by the guttural, lobotomising vocals of Ryan Casey whose style recalls Mikael Åkerfeldt of Opeth. Both vocalists are different enough though to distinguish from one another in each of their genres. In certain areas on the album, Casey screeches his vocals in a black metal style not unlike the early days of Darkthrone or Mayhem. This usually occurs in the background and is often accompanied by some towering riff courtesy of Vandyke or the clean vocalisation of Samantha Kempster. “Monarch” is a wonderful introduction to not only the album, but to Myraeth themselves, helping to establish themselves as a legitimate act, rather than just an imitation of the likes of Paradise Lost.
Following “Monarch” is “The Tormented”. While the opening riff on this track sounds somewhat recycled from “Monarch”, it soon redeems itself however with a pure slice of symphonic doom. “The Tormented” is a simple track, with Kempster taking much of centre stage in this particular song. It builds the gothic atmosphere to a temporal height without becoming too technical in its placement of Casey’s vocals, as well as Vandyke’s and Raw’s riffs and drumming. The outro is one of the best parts of the track, building such a melancholic, dark atmosphere that you can’t help but get caught up in it.
It transitions beautifully into “Confession”, a much more progressive track than their previous two. The riffs are heavy and droning, and Kempster’s violin sorrowfully trails on after it before the double-bass groove of Christian Raw kicks in. Karl Ebing’s bass work and Raw’s drumming really echo in this song, providing the perfect backing to Casey’s vocals and Kempster’s violin work and vocals. Samantha Kempster in particular though shines on this track with her excellent vocalisation and subtle use of the violin. At around three minutes in, the song slows almost to a crawl as Kempster sings with such passion that you feel the sorrow and conviction in Vandyke’s excellent lyrics.
The next track on the album is perhaps my favourite. Another progressive addition, “Mythology” opens with a simple acoustic riff intro before erupting into a combination of riffs and drum breakdowns. The violin and keys complement the guitars well, and the riff and guitar solo are some of the best I’ve heard in a while. It sounds clean enough to not be too hard on the ear, yet also harsh and atmospheric enough to appeal to the more particular doom metal fan.
“Driftwood”, “Sleight of Hand” and “Transcendence” keep much the same formula as the rest of the album, yet the consistency isn’t dull. It’s different and intriguing enough to keep your interest, and due to the wonderful production used on the album, each song sounds like it should be there. There is little, if any, filler on this album. Nothing sounds out of place and each song flows into one another, creating a beautiful, memorable experience.
Myraeth possess a wonderful ability on this album to create a unique and different experience. They manipulate many wonderful factors in the genre: breakdowns, progressiveness, clean and distorted guitars, classical violin work, and symphonic keyboard work. The combined guttural and clean vocals of Ryan Casey and Samantha Kempster respectively are also some of the finest I’ve heard in quite a while. While the band isn’t particularly doing anything that hasn’t been done before, they are approaching it in a way that seems fresh and works well for the album.
Being the final track on the album, “In Glorious Death” is a wonderful way to close it, and exhausts the band’s superb repertoire, showing what they are really able to do. Using certain elements in the intro that recall classical music, alongside “The Tormented” and “Transcendence”, “In Glorious Death” is one of Myraeth’s heavily atmospheric tracks with a shredding riff that kicks in once Casey’s guttural cry reverberates. As the subtle, clean vocalisation of Kempster sweeps throughout the song, you’re left with a satisfying end to the album and a feeling that that “darkest night” mentioned in the song’s lyrics has yet to arrive. But that when it does, it’ll surely be a night to remember.
Album: In Glorious Death
Origin: Sydney, Australia
2. The Tormented
6. Sleight of Hand
8. In Glorious Death