David Ports – Green to White Technician
Boone Ipstenu – Shaman
Jay Schwartz – Meat Puncher
Sam Tygiel – Airbender
Steve Bergquist – Party Master
“The Haint” – मृत्योर्मामृतं गमय (Hindu prayer for peace)
release: October 28, 2016
After recently reviewing Maeth in our State of the Art: Minnesota series, I was thrilled to see that they were releasing Shrouded Mountain on October 28th as a Name-Your-Price digital download on Bandcamp in a variety of high quality formats. If preferred, you can pre-order the vinyl LP and receive the download immediately. Each of these tasty 12” platters will be randomly and individually colored and ship around February 15th, 2017 by Minnesconsin Records, which is a first for the band! An instant collectible that is sure to interest the most choosy connoisseur audiophile. A cute gimmick maybe? Hell, no! This is some of the coolest, most unique music available anywhere, all genre categorization be damned!
Alright. That does not help for an album review, so let’s step back a bit. Having a self-defined sound of “Heavy/Progressive/Psychedelic/Post–Rocks/Chillcore/Jazz Fission/Djoom/Skygaze/Deaf–friendly/Crunch N Cream/Toilet Noises” with influences from “Noise/Silence/Mysticism and Ghost Towns” that I described as Progressive, Psychedelic, Atmospheric Heavy Doom where no rules apply. Intrigued yet? Miraculously, Maeth beautifully subjugates chaos with some of the most complex drumming, atmospheric clean and distorted bass lines/leads, incredible guitar hooks, flute and the ever present sounds from nature. If there are vocals, they swim just below the surface or soar in the background that are usually incomprehensible but add expression that would otherwise be lost. If it does not need to be there, Maeth leaves it out. All of these factors are the core of this band’s undeniable genius. Wonderful, astounding and fascinating.
Shrouded Mountain begins as an ethereal chant in “Megalyth” that morphs into sludgy Doom with Maeth’s characteristic natural background sound. This is transitioned into a fast, lead guitar loop with an interesting melodic rhythm driven by heavily distorted bass and wicked percussion and then back to black hole heavy Doom. Desperate vocals and huge, thick guitar riffs carry this banger to an abrupt end. “Verne” reintroduces Maeth’s beautiful, yet uncommon use of clean flute over fuzzy, Post Rock guitar, blasted bass over ever-changing drum wizardry. Once built, this animal slows to a mucky crawl before exploding into a supernova of hard-hitting, melodic noise which collapses in Doomish fury. In celestial contrast, “Shrouded” begins with rich, airy guitar that blows us, like a Chinese fire arrow, into the stratosphere and continues to build as the aural atmosphere thickens. Frenzied, mechanical and echoing vocals accompanies tremolo picked guitar continue before we find ourselves floating peacefully as the gentle rain begins to fall. “Naga” continues as a heavy, Native American chant that crumbles under a massive, mechanical Doom hit of modern destruction. Again with tremolo guitar, “Naga” slows but thickens with superheated, atmospheric intensity. With perfect ebb and flow of layered instrumentation, a peaceful balance materialize as a natural wraith. As in final conflict, “Mammoth God” has an uber-distorted guitar hook slamming, full force, into Doom laced towering, screamed vocals. Flute again emerges just below the murky surface tension between the guitar rhythms and soaring vocals that are traded with screamed vocals drenched in despair. Two-thirds of the way through, “Mammoth God” reaches its pinnacle before everything settles down and drums lead us out.
I have endlessly listened to Maeith’s prior releases of “Horse Funeral” and “Oceans Into Ashes” that left me with high hopes for “Shrouded Mountain”. Needless to say, I am not disappointed in the least and shared my love of this band with other members on our staff that have been equally enamured by this unique sound. This thing is a beast and a great way to spend hours, just shy of forty-three minutes at a time.
Tracklist for Shrouded Mountain:
All music and lyrics written by Maeth
Engineered, mixed, and mastered by Adam Tucker at Signaturetone Recording in August 2015
Produced by Maeth and Adam Tucker
Pre-production by Michael Cushing
Shortwave recordings sampled from the The Conet Project: Recordings of Shortwave Numbers Stations. Irdial–Discs, 1997
Additional vocals on “Mammoth God” by Dan Lee
Artwork by Adahn Stewart
Logo design by David Thame