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Band Name Mur (USA)
Album Name Athabasca
Type Album
发布日期 19 四月 2015
出版公司 Self-Released


1. Ungulate Flesh & Blood (Stirring in the Herd) 12:02
2. Dragged Across the Forest God's Teeth 08:57
3. Athabasca (A Calf Is Culled) 11:32
Total playing time 32:31

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Mur (USA)

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02 八月 2015

In Tune With Nature

Mur is a one-man band from Minnesota created in 2012 that aims to blend different styles of the metal genre for an atmospheric sound. On top of that, it thematically focuses on ecology, particularly in the interactions and relations between the bison and the wolf. After releasing an EP the same year it formed, the project would release its first full-length in 2015 called "Athabasca."

Drone seems to be a genre that's harder to tackle and perform well than one might expect. Though some may view it as nothing but one loud, bass-drenched note that goes on for what feels like an eternity, aspects such as the instrumentation, the way the music builds up, and others have to be carefully planned out and executed to really engage the audience. If this album is anything to go by, then it would seem that Mur already has a very firm grip on that concept. Though not an instant classic, "Athabasca" definitely covers its foundations well and is an overall strong and enjoyable bit of ambient music.

Musicianship-wise, the album fares quite well, particularly the guitar-work. It's especially well done and the strongest point of the instrumentation; the manner in which the melodies are delivered range in a span of genres such as black, drone, and so on (A point I'll elaborate on later in this review), but the riffs still manage to sound really coherent, so they have a lot of great dynamic without going too all over the place. Besides that, the vocals and drums also hold up well, the former being appropriately fierce while the latter acts as the sort of black metal framework with its fast paces, though neither is entirely remarkable. Overall, the instrumentation is solid all-around.

Speaking of the sound, the mixing for this album is probably this album's weakest spot. It's not actually bad, mind you; it's decent enough, projects the atmosphere needed to grab the audience's attention, and nothing about it flat-out ruins the music, but it could use some work. Specifically speaking, the volume difference between the quieter and louder moments of each song is a bit too wide. At times, I found myself having to adjust it accordingly between the two modes quite drastically, and it is sort of jarring. Bottom line, the production is enough to keep itself above water, but some tweaking, especially in the volume department, would definitely lead to a better results.

Sort of going back to the impressive guitar-work, "Athabasca" is an album that blends a variety of different genres into an impressive combination. The ferocity of black metal, the thick atmosphere of drone, the dark tone of doom metal, and other elements are combined into a rather captivating formula. This does seem a tad familiar for those who particularly enjoy dark, ambient metal, but the sound itself is quite unique. The musicianship, and post-production effects are executed in a way that lends the music to a lot of potential. Even though the execution doesn't exactly reach breathtaking levels, but it's nothing short of intriguing and emotionally provocative.

The songs themselves also have a nice sense of progression and dynamic as well. Oddly enough, it's courtesy of the genre blend described earlier. For an example, "Athabasca (A Calf is Culled)" starts off on the quiet side, consisting of some rather gorgeous acoustic guitar play along the lines of doom metal, but later transforms into a fierce but still melodic black metal track, demonstrating some great build-up. It also helps that the three songs offered by this album sound distinct without compromising identity, particularly in terms of the mood. Ranging from the gloomy tone of "Dragged Across the Forest God's Teeth" to the rather uplifting melodies of "Athabasca (A Calf is Culled)," the songs in this album have plenty in terms of mixing things up that it makes for nothing short of an engaging listening experience.

"Athabasca" is a boiling cauldron of fascinating ideas, and a harbinger for something phenomenal. The sound production may be iffy at times, but the positives are more than plentiful enough to overshadow that. Potent musicianship, nice dynamic, great structuring, atmosphere, and buildup, and intriguing lyrics certainly make this record worth checking out for fans of ambient metal. This project has a lot of potential under its belt, and it'll be very exciting to see how its music will progress in future releases. Whatever the case, "Athabasca" is a fine effort.

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