With their self-titled debut EP released in 2014, the French band Mur (whose six-person line-up includes former members of Today is the Day, Glorior Belli, Mass Hysteria, Comity, and Four Question Marks) began feeling their way, searching for an identity for their music and beginning to establish one. When you listen to their new full-length record Brutalism, which will be released on October 25th by Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions, it becomes apparent that they have arrived, at a place where their confidence is strong and their identity (albeit a multi-faceted one) well-defined. It isn’t so much a sea-change in sound compared to the EP as it is a giant stride ahead on the path they began five years ago.
The album is a fascinating experience because it is such a dynamic one. It offers constant surprises, but does so without losing the bonds that forge all the experiences together into a whole, and without sacrificing the explosive, searing intensity that’s the main hallmark of the record. Today we’re presenting a new song from the album (“Third“) that in itself embodies dramatic change — as well as serving as a blazing example of just how devastatingly powerful Mur’s combination of hardcore and black metal can be.
It may not be useful to characterize this new song as “atmospheric”, because it is such a shattering, physically ruinous, upheaval, but it does create visions — visions of apocalypse. However, it doesn’t begin that way.
“Third” begins with mesmerizing melodic reverberations, a tonal tapestry of shimmering, quivering, and chiming sounds that are strange but alluring. But it also serves the purpose of magnifying the shock value of what happens when the sound explodes. This isn’t the only point on the album when Mur create such stunning contrasts, though the juxtapositions are never the same. In this instance, thunderous percussion, maniacal bass thrusts, and typhoon-like riffing unite to shove the listener completely off-balance.
After that stunning storm-break, the drumming shifts into a sequence of hammering rhythms as the vocalist screams like a man turning himself inside-out through force of will alone. The riffing roils with incredible turbulence but creates sequences that have a pattern, and the rhythm section breaks into jackhammering grooves as well, yet the music never relents from its cyclonic intensity. Dismal, shrieking leads slowly writhe or extravagantly flare through the titanic gales of sound, and terrifying chords rain down like the trumpets of armageddon, segmenting the stunning sonic spectacles that Mur deliver.
The song comes across like a breathtaking encapsulation of world-ending devastation, an amalgamation of ferocity, terror, and despair presented on a grand scale — and there is indeed an atmosphere of grandeur in the music, of a most apocalyptic kind.
Brutalism was recorded at Onetwopassit Studio by Yacine Mdarhri Alaoui, and it was mastered at studio Sainte Marthe by Francis Caste. The cover art was crafted by Alexandre Michaan.
LADLO will release the album in a digipak CD edition on October 25th, and a double-LP vinyl edition will be available soon, along with shirts and patches. Below you’ll also find streams of a couple of other tracks from the album (one of which we separately reviewed here), in addition to our premiere of “Third“.