Friday, June 14, 2013

Memento Mori - Rhymes of Lunacy (1993)

This is one album I was very excited about. As a major Candlemass fan - I had many of their albums on cassette, I had been highly disappointed when Messiah left, and was thus very happy to see him starting a new project. Other members of Memento Mori included Mike Wead of Hexenhaus. Anyhow, needless to say I ordered it as soon as it became available and eagerly awaited its arrival.

As far as albums go, it's not a particularly dramatic cover-  the purple on black print renders it almost invisible and the cover is fairly plain but quite nifty, featuring the MM bat emblem. I used to draw that all over my school books.

*sigh* Ahh, nostalgia.

Inside there is only the lyrics to one song - but that's okay because you can't read them anyway due to the dark font. There's a photo of the band, in which Messiah looks very rotund and everyone else looks like a long-haired clone. The centre double-page spread is taken up with advertisements for other Black Mark albums.

The album opens with the atmospheric chords of instrumental "The Rhyme", the guitar sounding faintly oriental and fairly moody and dramatic.

It merges seamlessly into the achingly slow chords of "Seeds of Hatred". Messiah's voice is still a thing of power and beauty, swelling into a crescendo that could lift volcanic ash into the sky and move the earth. The drums are slow and slightly trebbly.

"Morbid Fear" brings with it a heavily brooding sound and ominous choruses:
"Deep within your soul, wayward child..."
Also some nicely dramatic and intricate guitar-work, intermingling with slamming bass. Strong harmonising.

With strength and power, "The Caravan of Souls" marches on - slowly, ponderously yet a force to be reckoned with. They are the power, the ominous and the intricate. Wead is truly a fine guitarist. Lead by Messiah's Voice, more souls are drawn to join the journey.

With the aching cry of the desert wind, and the beat of hooves (or rather, drums), we approach "Lost Horizons".  The technical aspects and slow rhythms herald the looming and the ominous. Intense and dramatic, powerful. Strong harmonising.

With the subtility of a steamroller, the immensity of "When Nothing Remain" advances like an avalanche. Messiah's voice builds into soaring, roaring from the heavens, punctuated by staccato drumbeats and an ominous wall of sound. The lyrics are filled with the futility of everything we say and do:
"Do you believe our souls survive to live on lucky clouds above?
Or do you fear, when our time is up, something evil awaits below?"
More twiddly guitar strokes and we enter into the instrumental "Forbidden Dreams".

"Little Anne's not an Angel" is something a bit different, it has lyrics suited for a glam song but is, of course, still laden with the ominous and the powerful. The vocals are strong, but threatening, the chorus pretty epic - but then again, so is everything that comes from Messiah's throat. Little Anne's fate is a sad and depressing one. She's not an Angel, and she sin after sin won't get to Heaven. She sells herself and loses her soul and ends up in Hell.

With a long and drawn out beginning: "The Fear of God" involves some pretty intensive guitar and a lot of drum. Then the vocals crack in, and the pacing turns slightly playful - in a slow and looming kinda way.

"The Riddle" starts low, with the rising of the wind and guitars, weaving a spiralling and intricate pattern, like swirling smoke or a dust-cloud looming.

"The Monolith" looms, Messiah's voice like musical thunder whilst the guitar falls like raindrops.

Induitably a powerful album, a force of musical nature. Powerful, but lacking the heartbreaking emotional of Candlemass. Messiah's voice is fine, Wead is a superb guitarist and the compositions are solid and ominous, but it lacks a little in emotion and spirit. Best played LOUD.

Rating = 6.5/10.


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