Mizmor - YodhEven before hearing a single note from Portland, Oregon’s one-man blackened doom psalmist Mizmor (מזמור), the striking cover art of Yodh—a reproduction of an artwork by Polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński—tells us everything we need to know. The two faces in a desolate dystopian landscape, robbed of their distinguishing features and reduced to mute, expressionless monoliths, speak to our subconscious selves. They activate primal parts of our psyches and communicate a wordless, but deep sense of unease. A vision of the future, a projection of one’s soul, or both. Mizmor’s sophomore release is just like that, an unnervingly heavy, incomprehensible thing, a bastard born out of black metal and drone and raised in the filth of funeral doom. A mutant artistic articulation that shouldn’t exist, and yet that we’re faced with.

Rising from this place of desolation, something deliriously beautiful surfaces in the way that A.L.N., Mizmor’s sole member, meshes disparate genres together, crossing the lethargic tread of doom with the schizophrenic onslaught of black metal. For the duration of the record, then, these elements coexist rather than clash, cocooning a crushingly fast rumble within a slow, static framework that pushes songs into a motionless glide. An almost hypnotic characteristic of the music becomes clear as soon as the opener “i. Woe Regains My Substance” plods down to a halt, the remains of A.L.N.’s tortured vocals echoing in the distance, only to ramp back up, and finally dissolve into a rumbling, abstract drone.

Still, Yodh doesn’t adhere to a clear formula, rather all the tracks follow their own paths—varying tempos, contrasting acoustic and distortion-saturated passages—and reflect in flesh whichever concept the artist is trying to convey through them. In recent interviews, A.L.N. provides some insight into his process and views. He acknowledges Yodh as both an expression of his perception of the fascinating futility of mankind’s struggles and its continued lust for life, and a conduit for his own battles with depression.

Mizmor 2016

Consistent in quality for the whole 60+ minutes of material, Yodh’s high points come during the Earth-esque, creeping, and atmospheric “iii. The Serpent Eats its Tail,” that surprisingly morphs into an ominous, oppressive doom-drone behemoth, and the extremely massive “iv. Inertia, an Ill Compeller” that seems pushed forward by an imperceptibly developing, deconstructed, and constantly lingering melody. This is seldom meandering music that is thrust upon the listener in all its heaviness and in which the listener takes no formative part. We are, instead, condemned to lose control and become enveloped in A.L.N.’s infernal microcosm.

If Erich Fromm is to be believed, “one cannot be deeply responsive to the world without being saddened very often.” In that sense, Yodh reveals A.L.N. as an incredibly perceptive and attuned musician capable of channeling this endless sadness into a great work of art. A work that deserves the title of the most emotionally and sonically crushing album of the year.

Tracks to Check Out: “i. Woe Regains My Substance” and “iii. The Serpent Eats its Tail”


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  • Irineu Carvalho

    I am now holding my breath until the end of year lists are published.

  • Goldicot

    Is this the last album I missed this year, or did I Mizmor?

    • There are a few more floating around out there.

      • sir_c

        Khonsu anyone? :-)

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Yo d hhhhave to look

    • Roquentin

      And now you let yourself out…

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    LISTS! WE WANT LISTS!

    • Lists happen after Christmas, you Scrooge!

    • brklyner

      NCS has all the lists in the world

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        They’re just appetisers for the AMG lists

    • Roquentin

      You know it’s gonna be dominated by Jorn’s Heavy Rock Radio all day, all the way?

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        One simply doesn’t un-hear Jorn’s Kate Bush cover…

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Putting my torch and pitchfork down for a moment so I can comment… That is some impressive art! Definitely a contender for album art of the year… Now where was I
    LISTS WE WANT LISTS!

    • Kronos

      It’s hard to go wrong with Beksiński. I believe this year’s album by wode also featured a piece from his oeuvre.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Right, makes sense now that you say it. They’d both make a top 10 covers for the year. I think my favourite album art this year is Fuath’s I. I bought the album cause I liked the art so much.

      • Roquentin

        He was the Polish H.R. Giger. They both made art that’s intended to freak you out.

  • Reese Burns

    This record was so close to being one of my top ten this year, it hurts. It’s just ghostly, plain and simple.

  • Eldritch Elitist

    Love that cover. Alright Mizmor… SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT.

  • This record put me into the deepest holes of darkness and horror & Screams my fears louder than any other.

  • Dymanic

    I don’t usually find much I like in these one-man post-black whatever projects. But some works just have an atmosphere that draws you in straight away on first listen. This is one of those works. Looking forward to revisiting it when I find the time.

  • Frost15

    This album didn’t feel anything special to me. I gave it a few listens and I could not get anything more than average from it. The album cover is another story though. Cover art of the year contender for sure.

  • Adrian Rigter

    I really Dug this. gives off the same kind of addictively unpleasant vibe as Akhlys’s The Dreaming I from last year.

  • Dudeguy Jones

    Every year theres a few albums that I don’t get to until the end of the year, so thus I have less time to devote, but something special about these albums demands they get a spot on the list somewhere.
    Oftentimes these albums age very well and by mid next year I’ll be wondering why they are at place #15 as opposed to Top 5.

    Babushka was that band for last year. Shoehorned it into #12 when it should clearly be a Top 5.
    (I run from Jan – Jan, unlike the common Dec – Dec we keep seeing)

  • Requiem

    i. Woe Regains My Substance reminds me a lot of Ataraxie, with the frantic fast paced parts punctuated by ominous heavy slow-downs. I love this.

  • Tom O’Bedlam

    SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT