Miasmal – Cursed Redeemer (Century Media)Thursday, 1st May 2014
Recent releases from Morbus Chron and Vampire seemingly not enough, Century Media continues to extend its grip into the realm of retro-inspired material with Miasmal. Hailing from Gothenburg (though musically speaking they feel more like Stockholm), Cursed Redeemer is their second effort, following up 2011’s self-titled debut. While much of the retro movement is founded upon putting the death and dirge back in death metal, Cursed Redeemer is a decidedly up-tempo affair. In fact, relentless would be the word of choice to use in a one-word review.
In terms of sounding “retro”, thankfully Miasmal aren’t your usual one-trick pony. While there are some definite nods to some early death metal here (“A Veiled Remembrance”), what keeps Cursed Redeemer afloat is its variety. There’s some death ‘n roll a la Wolverine Blues (“Excelsior”), thrash (“Until the Last”), and even a smidge of punk attitude to be found among the eight tracks. There are some of the usual, biting death metal solos here, but what really stands out are the epic solos that wouldn’t sound out of place on an NWOBHM album. “Frozen in Time” and “Whisky Train” have some classic metal solos that fit easier than you might think. Perhaps it’s due to the subtle melodies present throughout the entire album, but despite the often thrashing pace, Miasmal are able to craft some memorable tunes.
Much like recent efforts from Morbus Chron and Vanhelgd, Miasmal separate themselves from the ever-expanding pack of retro-worshippers with their expanded palate. Some new approaches through the old school waters makes sure that Cursed Redeemer sets itself up as a leader instead of a follower. But all of that means nothing without some gripping material, which Miasmal has written in spades. A thrashing good time indeed.