Friday, 4 August 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Mudbath - "Brine Pool"

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 2/05/2017
Label: Saka Čost| GPS Prod|
Troffea Records Third-I-Rex |
Grains of Sand Records


While firmly a doom metal group, Mudbath is not afraid to introduce different elements. With a shrieking vocal approach reminiscent of black metal and flourishes you might otherwise associate with drone, Mudbath manages to make it work.

“Brine Pool” CD//DD//LP track listing:
               
1. Burn Brighter
2. End Up Cold
3. Seventh Circle
4. Zone Theory
5. Rejuvenate
6. Fire

The Review:


France’s Mudbath is, likely for most listeners, going to be on the positive end.

Now on their third release, the foursome debuted in 2012 with an EP, followed by a 2015 full-length recording and now "Brine Pool," their 2017 presentation. While firmly a doom metal group, Mudbath is not afraid to introduce different elements. With a shrieking vocal approach reminiscent of black metal and flourishes you might otherwise associate with drone, Mudbath manages to make it work.

"Brine Pool" packs the most punch on songs like "Seventh Circle," a reference to Dante’sInferno”. There, Dante and Virgil discover the place in Hell intended to punish the violent, from the war-makers to the suicides to the blasphemers and the sodomites. Literary scholars have for decades plumbed the Inferno’s imagery, including its host of gruesome penalties in the Seventh Circle of Hell. It is fitting that this cut is at right about the release’s middle, because it feels like a climax of the despair and foreboding you hear from start to finish. You can almost feel as if the vocals came straight from pools of boiling blood Dante once imagined, or from Pholus, among the Seventh Circle’s patrolling centaurs, himself.

Whereas "Red Desert Orgy," their first release, had at many moments a slower, more raw build, and their "Corrado Zeller" sophomore had implications of dirge, Mudbath’s latest recording finds an intriguing merger of its past and present. The blues influences you might have heard from the band before remain strong on songs like "Fire" and elsewhere. The opening cut "End Up Cold" also launches with that bluesy seethe. Its crescendo, though, suggests a new maturity. The vocals by Mika, Flo and Luke jump out at you methodically. The bass and electronic touches added by Marco enhance the feeling of dread.

Although the songs still contain the rawness of old, there is an evolution afoot for Mudbath. Maybe the group, which had lineup changes in 2013, is just more comfortable in its own skin (insert death metal joke here). Or maybe it’s simply the camaraderie that suddenly blossoms in a new way after many live shows and studio time together. Whatever it is, "Brine Pool" marks an invigorating chapter for the French quartet. One has to be fascinated to see what comes next.

"Brine Pool" is available to buy here



Band info: bandcamp || facebook

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