Might – Abyss Review

Take a look at that incredible Beksiński art, and tell me what music you think it represents. Did you say stoner and sludge-infused alt-rock? I didn’t think so, but that’s what Might serve up in their sophomore record Abyss. The duo have certainly branched out from their more overtly sludgy eponymous debut that Emya seemed to somewhat enjoy, switching from stoner, to crust punk, to black metal, to prog rock, and to post-metal both within and between tracks. One gets the impression that they were unsure what kind of album to make. And while at points the passion of the pair shines through, the end result is less than coherent, or enjoyable to listen to.

With both musical styles and quality all over the shop, Abyss isn’t just straightforwardly below par, it’s disappointing and confusing. The (disposable) intro “Naked Light” with its death-doom riffs that runs into the blackened crust beginning of “Lost” gets you ramped up for some gnarly savagery. That is, before you discover that it’s a clean-sung (mostly) hard rock track. As it happens, the majority of the non-acoustic songs are primarily stoner or alt-rock, though they often tease the listener with something heavier or more interesting for brief interludes. “Abysses” and “How Sad a Fate” include just enough dark atmosphere to keep you trying to listen, but are overrun with mediocre, monotonous riffs and repetitive, lukewarm refrains. The remaining songs feature vocalist and pianist Ana Muhi exclusively and revolve around simple repeated chords. It’s not that these styles are inherently bad. It’s their haphazard aggregation, the jarring flip-flop between genres, which is so frustrating. “Circles” is particularly egregious for its out-of-nowhere poppiness—complete with “oooh ooh-ooh” backing vocals—smashed next to not only aggressive, early-core verse riffing, but the fuzzy, doomy “Abysses” just prior.

Might’s eclectically mixed bag of tricks is not their only problem, it’s also the way they present and execute it. The nicest thing that can be said about the stoner doom on display in tracks like “Abysses” and “How Sad a Fate” is that it is competent. Because it is in fact extremely dull. More heinous is the singing in those solo acoustic tracks —”Who’s Ahead,” “Tightrope Walk,” “Dear Life.” I do not like disparaging artists passionate about their craft. But my immediate impression was, weirdly, of a 90-year-old Stevie Nicks after downing a shot of whiskey. The nasally, croaky, fragile style is bound to appeal to some people, but it made sub-three minute songs a chore for these ears. This is exacerbated by the way in which singer and instrument sound far too close to the microphone, a small part of a larger problem with uneven production that plagues the whole record.

Abysses is, nonetheless, not all bad. “Shrine,” and the better parts of “Lost” shows off a barbed, crust-punky edge. The latter even includes well-placed howls and a slice of second-wave atmosphere through tremolo plucking and feedback. Closer “Holy Wars” proves that the two can make an interesting stoner doom track, layered with melancholy plucking and distorted melody. It helps, of course, that Sven Missullis handles vocal duties. Even if it remained an odd mixture, a record blending this aggression and mournful doom would probably be pretty good. The pair seem apt at handing the harsher vocal and blistering percussive styles, and “Holy Wars” and even that intro point towards a tendency for haunting ambience. A blessing also, is the album’s relative brevity, clocking in at around half an hour. On that point, however, “Abysses” and “How Sad a Fate” do outstay their welcome, unable to justify their circa-six minutes each with their aforementioned dry doom.

The cover art, and Might’s own music, seem to promise something dark, crushing, and intriguing. Abysses does not deliver. There are glimpses of promise, even brilliance, in the duo’s suggestions of black, or atmospheric post-metal. But the whole is far too muddled, far too inconsistent, and often too badly executed to succeed.

Rating: Disappointing
DR: 91 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Exile on Mainstream Records
Websites: might.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/might.earth
Release Worldwide: August 26th, 2022

Show 1 footnote

  1. The average of 8 is pulled up by the acoustic tracks that are 10 or 11
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