Vera : In 2009 Norwegian Mistur flabbergasted us with the amazing debut album ’Attende’, an ultimate epic black metal record and the first encounter with a new seminal band. However, we had to wait seven years at the successor. After some festival shows and a tour, the band became inactive for shorter periods. But the good thing is that the six lengthy compositions on ‘In Memoriam’ once again illustrate the huge talents of this six-piece. This time the multilayered arrangements, the progressive elements and the typical Sognasound – home of bands like Windir and Vreid as well – is even more overwhelming than before. What an album it is!
The core of the band still exists of keyboardist Espen Bakketeig and guitarist Andre Raunehaug, with Stian ‘Strom’ Bakketeig in charge of those marvellous melodic guitar solos. Bassist Ole Hartvigsen is now the rhythm section together with new drummer Oliver Øien, while Andre and Espen add some clean vocals. ‘Downfall’ opens with atmospheric sounds, piano and string arrangements, but soon we hear a ferocious outburst in pure black metal tradition. Oliver does a great job as new screamer, but soon there is clean vocal interaction, reminding me a bit of Borknagar. Keyboards have that warm and hearty sound, rather the vintage sound of Hammond than synths, while the classical metal guitar leads constantly weave emotive patterns. Magnificent! This dense epic heaviness is maintained in ‘Distant Peaks’, but mark the break with beautiful melodious parts after three minutes. A bit akin to Opeth. Mistur infiltrates the virtuosity of progressive metal into their extensive soundscapes. A nice example of this working with contrasts happens to be ‘Matriarch’s Lament’ and let us not forget to mention that clean chants have that melancholic flavour we love. The band is really epic and grand, that’s why mammoth compositions with a length of eleven minutes, such as ‘The Sight’ and ‘Tears Of Remembrance’ seem shorter than their actual length, since they are graced with raucous and quiescent passages. This is done in an amazing manner! Consequently this album – produced by Espen Bakketeig and mixed by Bjørnar E. Nilsen – turned into a stunner in the genre! A must have for aficionados of Sognametal and also for fans of epic, yet harsh black/pagan metal.