I bought this French bands 2012 release “The Acausal Mass” on a whim and was very pleased that my gamble paid off as it was a fine display of vehement black metal done in a way that only the French can do. Stepping forward five years comes the bands fifth album, a trailblazing vitriolic obsidian excursion that funnels outright savagery within seven pristinely violent tracks.

After a suitably eerie intro that starts “Cauterizing Cosmos”, complete with a tribally led beat the song breezes into the opening riff maintaining a calm posture initially that sets the scene for the album brilliantly. As the song develops you hear a variety of hooks and effects that draw in the listener via the slow pulsing pace as the riff break injection is caustic, sending the song into the blasting stratosphere. “The Falsified Son” continues the onslaught but retaining a melodic blanket despite the blistering speed. The malicious vocal tirade is spittle laden, terrifying yet decipherable to a degree as the song crashes headlong without slowing until a brilliantly positioned pace shift is inserted, and it is that ability to keep the songs ever transforming that makes this album so engaging.

Every song on here deserves a mention as each has its own uniquely identifiable qualities from morose brooding riffs amid a miasmic aura to venomous blasphemic assaults cemented into one seamless slab of barbaric intent. A lot of the songs begin with that ominous ethos like “Gutters Of Pain” which possesses a doleful guitar hook on which a ghostly melody floats creating a morbid bearing right before the song explodes. “Sights In The Abysmal Lure” is a beast of a song, again beginning leisurely with a macabre riff and elongated torturous scream. The atmosphere is tangible, before the song rains down an inescapable torrent of blasting that leads into a flooding double bass drive that propels the song in waves of entrenched ferocity.

“Cesspool Coronation” is longer enabling the song writing to unfurl sequentially as the track begins mournfully with a croaking spoken vocal piece before the song smoothly gets into gear via a deluging double kick. The song gathers tempo fluidly but sharply returns to the slower realms making the song exude layers of charisma as it delves into a slithering crawl, maintaining a phantasmal and haunting aura that generally infests this whole album.

Consummate song writing amid a plethora of ideas, Merrimack deliver on all fronts and the five year wait has certainly been worth it.

(8.5/10 Martin Harris)