Of Entropy and Life Denial reviews

NomadInRoam on May 20th, 2013

Merrimack - ...Of Entropy And Life Denial...

Merrimack's latest release, ...Of Entropy and Life Denial... is black metal the way it was meant to be; a sonic assault that harkens back to early days of the second wave of black metal, that's what Merrimack have managed to produce. Don't begin to think that this album is just a mixture of recycled black metal clichés though, because ...Of Entropy and Life Denial... is much more than that, it is a solid black metal that is more than worth your time.

In its opening seconds the listener is greeted with what can only be described as a chaotic ambience. The guitars slowly fade in playing a simple, harsh lead line before they are greeted by the blast beats that rummage the album. This will occur several more times throughout the album, as Merrimack make excellent use of ambience to break up their attack on the listener. An interesting aspect of this ambience is that they manage to create it without the use of any strings or keys, and rely solely on what they can produce with their respective instruments. ...Of Entropy and Life Denial... also lacks the reverb that seemed to plague past black metal releases, so all of the instruments with the exception on the bass can be heard properly. In short, the natural ambience that is present combined with the lack of overpowering reverb adds to each of the songs and makes them that much better.

The vocals on the album are handled by Terrorizt and are executed well for the most part. His shrieks are nice and high pitched, and add to the haunting affect of the music. He rarely growls, but when he does, he does so fairly decently; what is meant is that he can't get as low pitch-wise as some of his counterparts (1349, Behemoth) but does a good job nonetheless. On tracks such as "Seraphic Conspiracy" and "Redeem Restless Souls" he does a nice job of coming up with melodies that compliment the music without taking away from, or distracting the listener. If anything negative is to be said about the vocals, it's that there is really not much variety. He either shrieks or growls and his voice rarely changes pitch when he is doing one or the other, making for moments of monotony. However, the times when this occurs are few and far between so it can be overlooked for the most part. One reason they can be overlooked is because of Merrimack's musical interludes within songs. The vocals will often stop for 30 or 40 seconds at a time while the band makes a transition within the song itself, but we'll get to that later.

Terrorizt also handles all of the lyrics for Merrimack. As one can already assume, the lyrics are about Satan and death in general. The lyrics are a downside to the album in terms of originality, but they are written fairly well, despite just being recycled from other death/black metal bands before them.

"Children of the Lord in league, walking unseen

In the multitude amongst the men

Whispering words with a voice from above

With the tongue of a snake, and these are the light of the Lord"

They will remain this way for the entire album, leaving the listener with the same message from track to track. For many this will be a turn off in itself, but the melodies over which these cliché Satan bearing lyrics are presented help to make up for their level of mediocrity. Needless to say, this too is a monotonous aspect of the album, but still, it can be overlooked because of the level of musicianship displayed throughout.

And now on to the reason ...Of Entropy and Life Denial... stands so very tall, and can be considered such a prolific black metal release: the music.

Chaotic. That would be the most accurate word to describe the guitar work on the album. Guitarists Feyd and Perversifier do an excellent job creating frenzied riffs that walk the line between utter cacophony and melody. On tracks such as "Adiabatic Bonds Of Consanguinity" and "Consecration Of The Temple" the guitars are powerful and make good use of harmonized leads. They often play riffs for a short amount of time before moving on to something completely different; this may come across as annoying (having the riff and rhythm change every 30 seconds or so) or incredibly innovative. For the most part they do a good job of avoiding having to recycle their lines, but every now and again you will be left with a slight feeling of nostalgia. Another part of their playing which shines through is their use of melody (as mentioned earlier). Unlike several other bands that may make a short transition to another riff, or stop altogether in order to switch riffs, Merrimack does it very differently. They often riff for about 40 seconds in between verse’s and choruses in order to switch riffs. This could have come out as a giant mess, but they did it well, and as a result add new elements to each song.

Needless to say the bass is missing from almost the entire album, making some rare appearances here and there. However, when the bass is heard it is following the guitar lines. I'll like to say that the bass provides a wall of sound on which the guitars and vocals can stand. I'd like to say that if the bass wasn't present at all the music would sound too high endy. But I can't. I can't say much of anything about it at all. So let's move on to the drumming.

Necrolith does an excellent job behind the drum kit on this album. He can be alternating blast beats and rolling double bass with simple beats that add to the times when the music gets more melodic. His drum fills aren't anything to behold, but they do their job, anyway. One thing that needs to be commented on is his endurance. On "Adiabatic Bonds Of Consanguinity" he can be heard playing almost non-stop for over 18 minutes.

In conclusion, ...Of Entropy and Life Denial... is a black metal album that will most likely be overlooked by many in the metal community, and what a shame that is. The album is raw, aggressive, and has just the right amount of melody and chaos. I'd strongly recommend this album to anyone who is looking for new black or death metal.

Originally written for Sputnikmusic.

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GermanicusCaligula on March 23rd, 2010

Imploding false Christian Values

First off I will say that this is the first album I have heard start to finish from French black metal horde Merrimack and thus my review is not one of bias in comparison to any of their other material. Secondly, I will say that this is more than just run-of-the-mill black metal. By "more", I mean that it offers more to the listener than the stereotypical 2nd wave sound.

Let me elaborate on that. The band definitely does not lay to waste the traditional elements that made/make black metal the most extreme and aggressive form of Metal there is today. But they throw in death metal-like hammer-ons like you would hear in lets say a Cannibal Corpse song but not enough for them to be pushing the limits on this album to a death/black genre. Just more-than-slight hints of depressive style black metal can be heard as well. You can tell these guys were influenced by other respected French black metal bands like Vlad Tepes, Mütiilation and Torgeist. Could be just a coincidence but by no means do they don't seem like they were rocking Cradle of Filth "Jesus is a Cunt" shirts and listening to "Midian".

The vocals are amazing. I'm not the kind of person that will say something like that without telling you why. Torment, abhorrence and dominance all wrapped in this guys screams. Rants from the underworld! I'm not trying to sound clever, just trying to get across the way that "Terrorizt" lays to waste all the posers in this overcrowded genre of metal. His lyrics are quite clever with not only extreme anti-christian and misanthropic elements but also what I interpret as mildly avant-garde. Brilliant guy.

The pace of the album is pretty much the same from start to finish. I would say more mid-paced music that falls into a more "draggy" melancholy state in specific parts, especially in the appropriately titled "Melancholia Balneam Diaboli". This song would definitely appeal to fans of Striborg, Xasthur Abyssic Hate. The only turn off may be the production.

The production is rather good for a band that is sporting so much of a depressive and and almost ritualistic vibe. I have no quarrels with level of quality at all but some "kvlt" kids may find it to be much too professional. I have never been able to stand the fact that black metal must be recorded in a bedroom and/or on a cassette deck in order for it to be considered valid black metal. That's just bullshit and Merrimack proves it with fervor. I mean it's not over-the-top like Dimmu Borgir or a Peter Tägtgren production but this band will still lose points with some black metal fans because of this aspect.

The musicianship isn't by any means pushing new and unchartered boundaries but they get the job done and don't half-ass it. Skill-wise, the drumming is quite impressive, especially for this type of black metal. There isn't an over-the-top amount of blast beats but just enough to add flavor to certain riffs. Virtuosic drumming wouldn't fit well with what these guys seem like they are trying to do anyways.

To sum this release up in 5 words would be tough but I'll try. Hating with strength and finesse. And again, the vocals are the best part but don't insult the other elements into obscurity. I will definitely be checking more of this bands material out. Highly recommended black metal.

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eViLbOrIs on October 16th, 2007

Black Metal + Stuff

I've never heard any of the older Merrimack releases, but judging by the band's image, they are probably a heckuvalot more necro than this. For my lunch money, 'Of Entropy and Life Denial' sounds like something Swedish deathsters Anata would create if they decided to go the black metal route. There is nothing kvlt on this cd. This is perfectly produced black metal (seriously, the production could be off a Dream Theater record) with more than a little bit of death, doom (sludge, drone, funeral), and thrashy prog.

It's a testament to the tenacity of the band's dogmas that even with all of this completely anti-BM shtuff going on, 'Of Entropy...' is a seriously grim and evil sounding record, evoking the kind of atmosphere that should land these dudes a spot on the NED roster. They're not a far cry from being an easier version of Katharsis.

These dudes take the happy-pink-and-purple-with-seven-striped-multi-colored-candles birthday cake for lyrics, too. Think something along the lines of Nevermore's Warrell Dane, were he a much more unhappy individual than he already seems to be. Every song heralds either the apocalypse in one form or another, or the complete deterioration of society to the point where Earth's inhabitants will be begging for the end.

This has everything that proper black metal should have, and more. The Merrimen have been true to themselves and done what they wilt (Yes, it's a misinterpretation of Crowley, but it's clever goddammit!), dissolving the boundaries of their art and creating a masterpiece of almost avante-garde BM. In a word: Groovilicious.

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Of Entropy and Life Denial track list

1... (Of Ashes and Purification)01:12
2Seraphic Conspiracy (Of the Angels and Their Mission)06:01
3Melancholia Balneam Diaboli (Of Acedia and Her Daughters)05:40
4Redeem Restless Souls (Of Asmodaï and His Takeover)03:32
5Insemination (Of Procreation and Its Consequences)04:38
6The Birth of a Life's Sacerdoce (Of Nascency and Ineluctability)04:56
7Descension from Life (Of Spiritual Discipline and Metaphysical Gravity)02:55
8Subcutaneous Infection (Of Flesh and Its Decay)04:01
9Consecration of the Temple (Of the World and Its Impalement)02:10
10Carnaceral (Of Disease and Decease)02:04
11Adiabatic Bonds of Consanguinity (Of Entropy and Life Denial)18:51

Of Entropy and Life Denial lineup