I’m often at a loss for words to describe funereal doom. “Doomy and funereal”. There, review done.
Maestus, fittingly named from the Latin word for gloomy or mournful, formed in 2013 as a two piece, later taking on additional musicians for live performances and recording their debut “Voir Dire” in 2015. Their sound doesn’t plumb the aggressively woeful depths where bands such as Decomposed and Lycus have chosen to dwell over the years, instead Maestus straddle that line of torment between hope and despair that will draw comparisons to My Dying Bride.
Each of the four tracks on offer here is an intricately crafted epic journey. The keyboards and synth perfectly compliment the guitars adding powerful layers of atmosphere, with quieter moments (such as near the tail end of “Black Oake”) providing the listener with space to reflect.
Alongside such relaxing moments of beauty are strong, intense parts led by heavy, slow guitar riffs and melodies. The title track in particular meanders through guitar harmonies and beautiful piano passages, with powerfully bellowed vocals. At the eleven minute mark it speeds up significantly, before a mournful melodic refrain brings us back to sorrow, and the song plods with purpose to its inevitable end. This
Aficionados of this style will appreciate that these relative newcomers will soon be afforded the litmus test of direct comparison to the aforementioned My Dying Bride, as the daddies of doom also have an opus forthcoming this very annum. As it stands, Maestus have produced an authentic piece of work here, in particular their ability to skilfully transition between tranquillity and torment helps them stand out from the crowd.