On August 31, the Swedish band Mist of Misery will release their second album, Absence, through Black Lion Records, and today we have for you a full stream of the album’s nine tracks.
We first mentioned this album in late June on the occasion of the title track’s debut. That song has a dark and depressive atmosphere, but it’s also sweepingly beautiful, with the heart-aching melody carried aloft by waves of shining synthesizer orchestration and brought home by piano measures that are by turns wistful, soulful, and buoyant. And the vocals proved to be as emotionally powerful as the instrumental music — but also barbarically abrasive.
That was, of course, only one song from an album that was otherwise still shrouded in mist, waiting to be revealed — and it has proven to be as multifaceted and enthralling as the title track.
As the album’s wonderful cover art signifies, the music is often cloaked in a shadowed, depressive atmosphere — one that’s cold and haunting, introspective and somber. But the album isn’t an endless melancholy dirge. There’s an engaging dynamism at work, with passages that are also pastoral, warlike, and heroic. While the music can be bereft and wistful, it also opens up into panoramic vistas, as if grey clouds have parted and rays of sun are illuminating vast and verdant landscapes.
There’s a pronounced ambient and symphonic component to Absence that lends the music a mythic and dreamlike aura. Slowly drifting ambient shimmer and the tones of angelic choral voices beguile the senses, while the sound of strings — sometimes bleak and isolated, sometimes massed and powerful — provide strong emotional resonance. The songs are further accented by keyboard melodies that range from the sound of harpsichord and piano to the funereal grandeur of a church organ.
Yet there’s another side to the music, one steeped in the traditions of black metal. Along with powerful passages of swelling symphonic intensity, Mist of Misery deliver galvanizing surges of thundering drums and heavy riffs that rake and jab, plus skin-flaying vocals, howling and shrieking in a fury.
The band skillfully organize and manage these changing moods and musical textures with a sure hand, creating a blend of haunting ambience, symphonic power, and blackened ferocity, while repeatedly displaying a knack for driving home their penetrating and memorable melodies as they move among these changing shades of darkness.
Listening to the album straight through is a thoroughly absorbing experience, enhanced by the presence of instrumental interludes — though the songs also stand alone quite well.
Absence was recorded, mixed and mastered in Forlorn Halls Studios and on various private locations in Stockholm, Sweden from 2010 – 2016. The beautiful cover artwork was created by Russian artist Alex Tartsus.
Below, you can stream the album on either a Soundcloud or YouTube player.
To pre-order the album, go here: