Majalis is one of those “after work” side-projects whose debut release leaves such a powerful impression that one can only hope, fervently, that it continues. It began years ago as a songwriting collaboration between two of In Mourning’s guitarists, Tobias Netzell (ex-October Tide) and Björn Pettersson. Eventually, they enlisted vocalist/bassist Daniel Jansson and drummer Jonas Martinsson and recorded Cathodic Black, an EP released earlier this month by Pulverised Records. And together, they’ve created something wonderful.
If you’re familiar with In Mourning, you know that Netzell and Pettersson are experienced in dropping the weight of oceans upon listeners while interweaving melodies that have a way of sticking fast in the memory. They do something similar in the three long songs that make up Cathodic Black, but have stepped outside the realm of dark melodic death metal to do it. This time they’ve moved into the territories of post rock, sludge, and doom.
The weight of the mid-paced music comes via massive, fuzzed-out, doom-drenched riffs and a drum-and-bass duo that can really bring the heavy lumber when they put their minds to it. But the music is also a study in contrasts, and the power and intensity of the passages when Majalis starts to crush is magnified by the softer measures that often precede them — the beautifully somber piano piece that begins the EP, the isolated guitar strumming and echoing percussive sounds within “Rusting Sun”, the contemplative guitar duet in the middle of “Tooth and Bone”, and other similar moments when the band dial back the intensity. Continue reading »