(On January 30th Hessian Firm will release a new album by the California band Mefitis, and here we present a guest review by Lonegoat, the man behind the “necroclassical” project Goatcraft.)
An exhibition of metal understanding and dexterity, Offscourings presents some things to consider regarding the current state of metal and its possibilities. The first thing which is immediately apparent is that Mefitis will not traverse a solely death metal path. Their debut Emberdawn showed that they are capable of creating narrative songs within the death metal lexicon; riffs that are seamlessly glued together to present to the listener an experience of perpetual development during the songs’ duration. Offscourings takes a detour from standard death metal by assimilating avant-garde tendencies that have become more accepted in metal. This is not to say that they are playing it safe. The music is unmistakably their own and not something derived from appropriation.
The music is well-thought-out and brainy, perhaps going through prolonged rumination or incubation stages before completion. Everything fits nicely into contextual placement. There is a purpose to each component, and the music is whole because of it. Periodic moments of heightened stress help drive the music beyond its rhythmic basis. Each song has its own distinctive character and is an end-in-itself. Compositional prowess alone is worthy of praise, but Mefitis’ robust musicianship and abstract philosophy help to etch their expression into the edifice of extreme metal.
There is an exogenous characteristic to Offscourings. Sure, all music is an outward expression, but perhaps Mefitis has spent time placing themselves in juxtaposition with their contemporaries in order to derive and solidify their footing, abandoning instant gratification in lieu of superior riff alignment. With metal being so oversaturated, new methods are welcome and are a breath of fresh air. For those looking for elementary catchiness, look elsewhere. For those looking for an experience from beginning to end, something to chew and digest, Offscourings is an album you will immensely enjoy.