mithridaticI think the word that I may resort to here is ‘chaotic’. Yeah. The debut by French band Mithridatic definitely comes under that. Not that it’s a bad thing, not at all, but it sure makes the reviewers’ lives a little harder. It’s just you really don’t know where to start with this. I mean couldn’t the French just for once produce a Dimmu Borgir clone or an Arch Enemy rip off? But, no, instead we get this jagged, razor edged maelstrom of death metal shrapnel and shape-shifting blackened poison gas. It’s all just kind of bone gnawing insane.

OK, Giz, deep breath. Firstly trying to describe each song is kind of pointless because every twenty or thirty seconds it grows a new appendage rather like the creature in The Thing. Frighteningly though, it isn’t just an unstructured mess either though. It’s just… Difficult. So instead of nine tracks you get four dozen. This nuclear chaos is built on some terrific blackened death metal; perfectly constructed to explode at a moment’s notice with all the destruction of a nailbomb. It is sharp, jagged beyond belief and the insane tempo changes are somehow anchored by the exemplary drumming. There’s also a solid low end rumble drilling through this, too, but it never gets mangled up with the torn metal edges; more like a parallel stream. The vocals are up to all this schizophrenic music, screaming, growling, howling, snapping and moaning through the album. They can go slow and deep, like on ‘Oxydized Trigger Sabotage’ or hurtle through corners and tempo changes like a rail-ripping train on the all too appropriately titled ‘Hell Compasses Points’ and still manage real atmospheric sections.

This is difficult though, make no mistake. It requires work. It has a tendency to utterly overwhelm. It has a technical bent that should appeal to the more sinister tastes of tech/prog death metal fans and the chaotic mindset of some of the more ‘out there ‘ black metal – the experimental albums of Blut Aus Nord or some bits of Deathspell Omega maybe. It’s those kind of worlds this rampages through. It is also impossible to treat as nine separate tracks; this is forty odd minutes of twisted, dense bewildering music. At times it is way too much, but it never overreaches the band’s musical abilities. These guys nail their execution.

Maybe if Meshugga fans wanted to get into black metal this would be a perfect gateway…?

Score? Oh no flipping idea…

(8/10 on a good day, Turn It Off/10 on a stressed day Gizmo)