Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Review: Merciful Nuns – 'Meteora VII'

'Meteora VII'

Hot on the heels of the band's sixth full-length studio outing, Artaud Seth and his Merciful Nuns return with another slab of esoteric-themed gothic rock. With recent outing exploring dark, heavy and progressive atmospheres, the seventh instalment 'Meteora VII' heads back towards the bands' original stripped back gothic rock manifesto.

There are still plenty of ambient textures and the refined heaviness that has slowly crept into the band's sound linking them to their former Lutherion works. However the approach has taken a step back to the framework laid out on 'Liber I' and 'Hypogeum II' with the throbbing bass, jangling Sisters Of Mercy riffs circa 1985 and Seth's unmistakable accented baritone driving the songs forward.

The band storm through the majority of the album's first half with 'Elektra', 'Phantom Wall', and 'Karma Inn' reaching back towards the likes of 'Body Of Light' for inspiration before the slower and more atmospheric strains of 'A Day That Fades' slows the album down for more introspective listening. 'Speed Of Light' ups the tempo once again before 'Eulusian Ground' brings out the sparing use of heavy guitars and leans back towards some of the bands more progressive recent output. 'Zero G' carries on the heavy elements in its distorted bass and aggressive beat before cutting out and allowing the swell of the album's swansong 'A Place Beyond', with its overt ambient and prog slant, to slowly build along it's near ten-minute length.

The band might have cast their eye back towards their earlier work, but they're not retreading old ground. The lessons they have learned and the style they have nurtured are still at the fore of their seventh album. The unmistakable effects and themes remain, and the production is in keeping with the ever higher quality of their progressing discography.

Those who have been following the Nuns will be satisfied with this release as it encompasses elements of all their previous output so far, but with a more rock-orientated execution. The band's output has been prolific but has remained original and high quality, and 'Meteora VII' is no exception.  

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