If you look back through the top ten archives of the site, you’ll find it’s not uncommon to see a band on a list that was never reviewed by us. If a promo doesn’t come through our hand-hewn bone doors, it doesn’t get reviewed. But, even with that rule in place, there’re just too many promos arriving on a weekly basis to catch them all. What is uncommon is an album that not only landed on a couple lists but also took the top spot. So, what does this mean for Mistur‘s In Memoriam? Well… it means this sum bitch needs a review.

Since rediscovering In Memoriam toward the end of last year, we’ve been inseparable. I’ve sat in the snow with it, graded exams with it, and even fell asleep with it. It’s wooed me and terrified me, loved me and toyed with me. And it did it with a combination of atmospheric synths, mesmerizing pianos, clean vocals, harsh vox, and a score of headbangeable riffs. Aggression at war with beauty, joy battling melancholy. Toss in that nostalgic Windir vibe with Øien and Bakketeig’s dynamic vocals and you get not only Grier‘s Record o’ the Year, but one of the finest examples of black/Viking/melodeath bliss.

What the band has done since their debut, Attende, is hone seven years of silence into something that resembles a Grier sentence—lengthy and wordy, yet concise and magnificently structured. OK, so the comparison to my writing isn’t all correct (just the latter part is), but I think you get the point. “Firstborn Son” and “The Sight” are packed to the gills with everything you could ever want. Yet, they have the same conciseness as a five-minute ditty. They allow ample time for the mood to settle in but never allow it to become stale. The riffs change, the mood becomes more aggressive, and the listener’s neck comes under great strain. Every track undergoes massive twists and turns, each supplying unique riffage, synths, and vocals; thereby, creating a well-rounded record.

Furthermore, In Memoriam uses the keys and clean vocals with greater effect than it did on Attende. Songs like “Downfall,” “Matriarch’s Lament,” and “Tears of Remembrance” would fall to the wayside if it wasn’t for those impressive keys. Along with that, “Downfall” and “Tears of Remembrance” bookend the album with more perfection than the Christian deity. And between the synths of “Downfall” and the gorgeous, melodic piano segments of “Tears of Remembrance” lies a washboard road carved out by the crushing treads of “Firstborn Son” and “The Sight” and the funeral processions of “Distant Peaks” and “Matriarch’s Lament.” These six tracks work together as the perfect team—neither stealing each other’s thunder or tanking a play. For me, In Memoriam is without filler. And, though I love “The Sight” the best, the record is impossible to appreciate unless listened to from beginning to end.

If this were a full review of In Memoriam, I’d be more than a little tempted to give it a 4.5/5.0. Which is saying something, considering I have yet to give a record a score of 4.5/5.0. I know 2016 has come and gone, but if you still haven’t checked this out, you should. Don’t worry, you can trust me. After all, I am a doctor.

Tracks to Check Out: “Downfall,” “Firstborn Son,” “The Sight,” and “Tears of Remembrance”


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  • Take…these broken wings…oh, different band.

    • El_Cuervo

      A better band?

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        Shush!!!!!!

        • El_Cuervo

          But Mr Mister are fucking fantastic tbf

    • Grymm

      “KYRIE ELEISON DOWN THE ROAD THAT I MUST TRAVEL…” *ahem*

      Sorry. Lost myself there.

    • Mephisto

      TYMHM 1985..?

  • Ugo Poifol

    Wait, what ? I was absolutely certain this album already had a review here.

    Top album of 2016 for me too, and I’m so happy you gave it such a high score. It practically renewed my dwindling interest for ‘epic’ music.

    Other reviews around the Internet tend to be of the tune of “Well it’s good but not on the level of the previous album”. For me this is miles ahead, but it seems that the album fell prey to the law of “small band’s sophomore album gets shit on because it’s different from the previous one and the only people giving a fuck about it are those who liked the first one consequently giving the new one a negative appreciation” (still searching for a shorter name for this one).

    • It got a short blurb in the April Record(s) o’ the Month post, but no real review.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Yeah, I was actually worried that I was the only one that liked this thing because it got bashed on by their fans. But, I agree, it is miles above the debut. Yes, it is a little different, but everything clicks, meshes, and works from beginning to end. Something I can’t say about the debut.

      • Eli Valcik

        Lots fans didn’t like the more progressive change change form attende. I totally agree with you, thus whole album just clicked.

      • Ugo Poifol

        The debut is like a big mess of good things. I like everything I hear the moment I hear it but it doesn’t translate to great songs.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      This law of yours really needs a better name.

  • Dethjesta

    I indeed missed this in 2016 but so very glad that I didn’t miss it altogether. Superb album – 4.5 all the way.

  • Diego Molero

    You really haven’t give an album a 4.5/5.0 on this site? You are a doctor hard to impress.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Right?? I really have not. Kinda surprised myself.

      • Diego Molero

        Well, looking forward for that moment, I now It’s going to be a brilliant album when that happens then.

        BTW, I’m totally waiting for the YMIO about Abigail, 30 years on February (but of course you already know that).

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Oh, don’t you worry. Soon…

        • [not a Dr]

          You can still hear her screaming, if you’re walking the stairs in July…

  • madhare

    Just like Ugo, I also was absolutely certain that this had been reviewed. I’ve been looking it at it on Bandcamp all year like: “should I buy it, I probably should as it got such a positive review on AMG…”

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      I really think it was the April Records o’ the Month that made us all think it was reviewed. It got a nice little shout-out there and made an impact for the rest of the year.

      • Ugo Poifol

        Worse, I remember seeing it for the first time on the April Records o’ the Month thinking “man, only this?”, then reading a full review one month later. Sorcery !

  • Shrümpelstiltskin

    Do you think after they posed for the band photo they all made snow angels together? Oh and great album by the way!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      That was the other band photo they sent along with the promo.

      • Shrümpelstiltskin

        Oh how I would love to see that photo….

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          There was also a jumping high-five photo in the snow.

          • Shrümpelstiltskin

            A snowball fight photo would be wonderful as well.

          • Trommebust

            How the hell did you get hold of our jumping high five photos? Those were for private use only…
            But seriously, thanks for the kind words! Much appreciated!
            Cheers!

            /Tomas

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            I know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy. It’s a lot of knowing of guys.

            No problem. Thanks for the great album!

          • Trommebust

            Hah! Figures..
            Thanks a lot! I promise you won’t have to wait 7 years for the next one!

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Well, that’s damn exciting. So, when should I expect the third album? Two, three weeks from now?

          • Trommebust

            That would be exciting. But no. Nothing planned yet, so just the general statement of we have no intention to wait for 7 years for the next release.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Hahaha OK, that works.

          • With the extreme quantity of releases today, I’d rather wait 7 years for a killer album than see a dozen mediocre releases hit the shelves each day. But I’m confident you can deliver in a bit shorter time.

          • Ugo Poifol

            But would you wait 7 years for a half-album though ? *glances at Jari Maenpaa*

          • Are we talking about Wintersun’s Time I? In which case, according to “the standard by which all should be judged” (aka AMG) 40 minutes is a spot on perfect duration for a full-length, give or take 5 minutes.

  • AgonMcDuck

    “…graded exams with it…”

    Oh boy, so apparently AMG’s not the only academic on this site? Is this Angry Metal Academia or something? Being a PhD student of mathematics, I totally want in!

    In all seriousness, this record is SO good. I am all about this. Listening to it too late to make my year-end list was probably one of my biggest gaffes last year.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Gotta love them exams…

      • AgonMcDuck

        I swear, the sorcery that appears on students’ papers sometimes…

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          It’s incredible.

    • The last thing we need is more over-educated eggheads! We’re full up.

      • AgonMcDuck

        Welp, so much for that. Looks like I’ll have to occupy a less saturated market, then… *picks up guitar and starts writing songs for one-man black metal record*

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        There’s an Angry Metal Big Bang Theory joke around here…

        • sir_c

          It’s called the Head Bang Theory and it is tightly coupled to the string theory.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Six string theory?

          • sir_c

            There is some debate whether the three string theory suffices (Sepulturian variant) or that the more complex seven string one is needed (Vaian variant).

      • Britain had enough of experts telling them the EU was a good thing, so why should AMG be any different?

        :(

    • Xenonn

      Hey, I am also a math Ph.D. student. I work on geometric analysis.

      • AgonMcDuck

        Nice! I work in number theory, though, so I am not sure how much we can understand each other… At any rate, best of luck! :D

    • madhare

      Hush! …I’m sometimes slightly worried about all the academic talk here. After all, I do come here to (mentally) escape all the mind-numblingly boring and senseless paperwork that goes with my lecturership. :D

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        I agree. Work talk should be left in the workplace.

    • ssorg

      Late on the Mistur train — this shit rules. I’ll add to the list of the overeducated metalheads. Atm. Sci. PhD, doin cloud physics at NASA.

  • Eli Valcik

    Hmmmm, you forgot to include distant peaks and matriarch’s lament in the songs to check out. Seriously one of the best releases of 2016.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Hahahah! Not gonna lie, I did that in the first draft. All six songs listed.

  • Grumple_Stiltskin

    I don’t get the love for this album. To me it sounds like an American metalcore band that moved to Scandinavia to try to be cool. The chugging riffs are one thing, but then there are fucking breakdowns as well. I bought the album given all the good reviews, but sections like the middle of “Firstborn Son” are unlistenable and really pretty out of place.

    • Marc Rikmenspoel

      I love the idea of this album, but it did nothing for me.Not a bad album, but I just didn’t get any moments that clicked with me. Then again, I like the first two Windir albums much more than the full-band latter two, and this is more like Likferd than Arntor. For epic metal, lately I’ve been listening to Elffor. Cheesy AF, but it does click with me.

    • Ugo Poifol

      I really don’t get the hate for breakdowns. Of course it’s something a lot of shitty bands do and it’s annoying when done in every song, but a well placed breakdown can add a lot of punch to a middle-section.

      I remember seeing this argument from Metal-Fi regarding the 3rd In Mourning album, as if a breakdown was a negative by definition. Leaves me puzzled.

    • I don’t get the complaint. Breakdowns are used sparingly and work well within the context of the song, unless you’re trying to say that breakdowns should only ever be used in metalcore, death metal and slam, in which case I’m not sure what to say to that.

  • IndignantN00b

    This moved me much less than the Vindland album “Hanter Savet,” which may or may not be a 2016 release but which is unquestionably the best Windir imitation since Windir. Most of these “sognametal” bands leave me cold but that one nails it. BUUUUUHHHHT I’ll give this another spin.

    • Mr T

      I have added both Hanter Savet and In Memoriam the same day to Spotify. Could have sworn it came from AMG.

  • ricin_beans

    I could have sworn you reviewed this. I’m almost sure I heard of it here.

    EDIT: nvm, already addressed.

  • iiixf

    not to my taste, had to stop halfway through the third song, as someone already said it here, this sounds like something-core band donning BM-ish feathers in an attempt to be cool – this is actually pop music with blast beats and screaming – you can almost hear this dancey vibe

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Why are there so many people thinking this was reviewed already?

    • Maybe they’ve got a better visual than wordily memory, and they just remember the cover art from AMG, or maybe the album made such an impact that their subconsciousness automatically assumed it had been reviewed by their favorite metal site? Just speculating, though.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Makes sense: If they saw it on AMG must have been on a review, right?

  • Wilhelm

    I just love the artwork, good imagery.

  • William Hebblewhite

    I love this album so much. The riff on Downfall is just headbangingly good.

  • What a concise and magnificently structured review of an album by the exact same characteristics.
    Nice to see this album get the respect it surely deserve. It’s in the top area of my own list.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Magnificent!!

  • Levly

    I love this album as much as everybody here and it’s also on my top 10, but am I the only one slightly bothered by the production? I find it muddled and a little flat, which is a shame since the record would have been even better with a more dynamic and punchy sound à la Moonsoorow on their latest release.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      This seems to always be the case. I had to ignore it a little and focus on the music.

      • Levly

        Fair enough. Still, I think we should keep complaining about bad prod choices (specially when some band members do us the honor to drop by in the comments) and advocating dynamism. It’s the only way things will ever change.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          I agree. There is always room for complaining. I’m OK with this.

    • Ugo Poifol

      I agree it’s not perfect but I do actually enjoy the compression here. Heretic talk I know, but I really think this album benefits from the additional kick in the arse that the production brings.

  • gus rodrigues

    listened to the first song… bought the album 2 minutes later. the clean vocals reminded me of early vintersorg in how they are implemented (love vintersorg btw, specially their/his first 3 albums and last 3)

    • Ugo Poifol

      Seriously the lead in Downfall is the best thing ever. Whoa’d me right there. And the solos are something else too.

  • The Unicorn
  • Monsterth Goatom

    One of my favourite albums of 2016. It defines everything I love about metal.

  • It was on my seemingly ever-shifting top 10 of 2016 and deserves all the love. Thank you for the official review! m/

  • Thatguy

    That’s Ragnar Lothbrok on the far right and his brother Rollo on the far left. Excellent.

    And a great album.

    • Reese Burns

      !
      An album you enjoy! You’re a tough guy to please, so it must be good.

      • Thatguy

        Ha!
        I’m not really that hard to please, but I am ‘an enemy of all things power metal’ and I do think most one man projects would be better with input from bandmates.

  • Jrod1983

    This album is killer. Great riffs, awesome solos.
    It also acted as a gateway to Windir for me, so that makes it even better!

  • Dudeguy Jones

    One of the years best indeed. Always gripping and never over reaching.

  • Joshua Walker

    I am quite certain this would have made my 2016 top ten if I would have listened to it. Thanks for the review, Dr.!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Nooooo problem.

  • Able Archer

    Just a little late in joining the conversation, but it was great to see an AMG review finally! This album is a killer, easily one of my favourite releases from 2016 and that was a very good year for metal. The Sight just blows me away every time I hear it, and the whole album works together better than Attende. Totally agree with a lot of the review and the comments!