Feb 072023

(This is DGR‘s extensive review of the debut album by the multi-national band Mithridatum, recently released by Willowtip Records.)

Mithridatum are a new death metal trio that are part of a much larger musical wave taking place within the metal scene. Over recent years the concept of a dissonant death metal band has been a slow-growing sub-section of an already fractured and widely spread subgenre of metal to begin with. Reflective of the large motions in the quest for the nebulous ‘heavy’, many artists have found new vitality in making some of the ugliest and most unapproachable music out there, where a listener can recognize the barest components but otherwise spend just as much time fighting to find the appeal in any of it, or having the music actively reject the idea of approachability.

There’s so much incredibly cool stuff happening within the spinning vortex of sound that emanates from Mithridatum but you’re just as often subjected to nightmarish sonic hellscapes as best as the band could write them. Fascinating? Yes. Friendly? Not a chance in hell. Harrowing may be one of the more apt titles out there for the five songs and thirty-five minutes of music on the group’s first full-length release. Continue reading »

Jan 032023

My internet pen-pal Rennie Resmini from the band starkweather has a talent (born of a mind that functions as a vast musical encyclopedia) for hinting at the experience of a new release through references to other bands. In the case of Mithridatum‘s debut album Harrowing, he wrote: “If you said this was a collaboration between Zhrine, Ulcerate and Thantifaxath it would make sense.”

Willowtip Records, which will release the record next month, has provided a different kind of hint: “Through mercurial waves beneath the moon’s mournful glow, a trinity of incarnate beings that embody Mithridatum have conjured forth the entity known as Harrowing, an auditory pilgrimage traversing a gloomscape leaden with dissonance, despondency, isolation, entropy… into the abyss.”

You might also want to consider the origins of the band’s name. As the label, or perhaps the band, explain: “The name Mithridatum refers to the practice of achieving immunity against poisoning through self-administered, sub-lethal doses. The allegory is inescapable in its illustration of the unrelenting immiseration all incarnate beings must endure, willing or unwilling.”

Of course, I’ll add my own two cents about the impressions left by the music, which truly is startling, but as of today you have two tracks from which to form your own impressions. Continue reading »

Nov 082022


I decided I would have enough time to prepare a round-up of new songs and videos today. As I checked out candidates, it hit me that a lot of them were in the vein of black and “blackened” metal (with a healthy heaping of death metal in the mix). And so, with apologies to bands in other genre terrains that have also released worthy new music in recent days, I decided to focus this one on the kind of music I usually explore through this column on Sundays.


I was compelled to lead off with “Sojourn” because of the stunning cover art by The Blazing Seer for this band’s debut album Harrowing. But to be clear, the music isn’t an afterthought. Like the album title, the song is harrowing — a blistering, battering, bleak, and bizarre formulation of dissonant blackened death metal. Through the freakish whining and wailing of the guitars, it applies knives to the listener’s nerves, even when it slows, and the drumwork is as discombobulating as it is electrifying. Continue reading »