Album Review: Reign of the Odious – Musmahhu

musmahhu

Getting over your list mania yet, dear people? Feeling the hunger for new Death Metal? Well, look no further as here’s something rock solid to get started with. Musmahhu, a one man project from Sweden is unleashing it’s debut album on us and doing it with utter quality and poisonous fury. A fine start to new Death Metal year indeed. Let’s take a look…

As stated, Musmahhu is a one man project. A quick glance in the history of Swartadauthuz, the person behind Musmahhu‘s music tells us that this lad is definitely not writing riffs for the first time here. In the past ten years or so, he has already performed with about twenty different bands (most of them being Black Metal) and has appeared with quite a few alter egos while doing so. In that perspective, it is not a surprise that Musmahhu is the furthest thing away from amateurish, one-dimensional and demo-like which often is a case with the first album out.

As “Apocalyptic Brigade of Forbidden Realms“, the first song of the album has been blasting through speakers for less than a minute, several first, second and third impressions arise. The powerful, drum heavy production, chasmic nature of the music itself and above anything – the black, joyless atmosphere of the compositions all hit home with force. This is not fun and games here. With professional effort in the aspects of sound and the musicianship both, “Reign of the Odious” is as carefully planned as an album can be and herein lies the greatest strength of it too.

The album impresses with several carefully planted details, hidden in the vortex-like maelstrom of riffs. There’s dynamics in the music as well. Instead of constant sandblasting, Musmahhu works its magic around you like a wind in a stormy night. Coming and going in waves, but always making enough noise not to be forgotten. Dark, but clear production allows the riffs to breathe and listener to appreciate the carefully woven patterns. The bleeping synths of “Musmahhu, Rise” being probably the best single example of the carefully planned details and almost perfect overall balance of the mix. Just listen and you’ll know what I mean.

So… “Reign of the Odious” is an enjoyable ride through the blackness of night. It is a stand-out Death Metal album, with the Black Metal past of the performer himself still being present here and there. This is not the cheesy ‘Blackened Death Metal’ bunch you get now and then, but genuine Metal of Death. Pitch black and colossally heavy. Very Swedish too. If you are looking for references, “Reign of the Odious” is maybe closest to their satanic countrymen Dissection around the time of their second album “Storm of the Light’s Bane”. Keep that in mind, and add occasional keyboards reminiscent of early Burzum, and you are pretty close to the quintessence of this album.

What prevents me from throwing it a 4,5/5 is the slight hiccup in the album’s rhythm. It might be a minor detail, but it is pretty annoying still. The three first tracks are more or less flawless. Then the pace of the record gets broken by a somewhat pointless interlude called “Burning Winds of the Purgatory”. It flattens the listening experience and kills the drive in such a manner that it takes almost all the remaining tracks to wrap the listener again in it’s evil web. This is damn unfortunate, as this could have been the first highlight of the Death Metal year in 2019 with just slightly better album dynamics.

Nevertheless, if you like your Death Metal dark and dangerous, Musmahhu is your weapon of choice. There are numerous Death Metal records out there that can only dream of the level of songwriting here. There’s originality, the right kind of atmospherics, and killer tunes present. So keep this logo in mind. It’s a token of quality.   

Rating – 4/5

Check it out right here!

https://ironboneheadproductions.bandcamp.com/album/musmahhu-reign-of-the-odious

 

 

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