‘Lethean Lament’ is the second album from New York-based atmospheric black metal duo Mavradoxa, and just like the excellent ‘Reclaim The Darkness’ album from Australian band King last year, it’s a massive slab of nature-obsessed majesty.
Surprising and dynamic, Lux (drums, vocals) and Nival (guitars, bass, vocals) have crafted a passionate and forceful record, that even at a running time of just over an hour, holds the attention with its boldness and tangible sense of yearning. Not to mention crisp production.
It may begin acoustically, but this is no exercise in dreary black gaze. It may speak of the earth, the water, and man’s longing to connect with it, but the music is still brutal and heavy. With enough melody to provide a rich listening experience.
The band is also clearly in no hurry, as ‘The Phantom Visages’ slowly unfolds its many considered riffs and tempos.
Nival’s passionate and hoarse vocals suit the music down to the ground, and when they are matched with Mark Welden’s clean vox on the truly epic ‘Crimson Waves of Autumnal Flame’ and further voice from drummer Lux, the effect is pretty stunning.
The combination of male/female vocals also provides a choral tone to ‘Across the Nival Grove’, which works well with the almost goth-sounding lead guitar, and with some violin added to the snaking riffs, the track achieves an extra vagabond feel.
The Satyricon-flavoured ‘From Fog’ and the mellow acoustic picking of ‘Metanoia’ brings to a close an album than can be considered an immersive hour long journey rather than merely a collection of songs.
…and you’ll be surprised at how quickly the time goes.
‘Lethean Lament’ is an excellent release. Mighty metal, but with an ethereal folk sensibility.
…Cool logo too!
(8.5/10 Stuart Carroll)