Album: Free Me of The Sun
Label: Soulseller Records
Genre: Doom/Stoner Metal
Release Date: June 1st, 2018
This one’s for all you Black Sabbath fans out there. There is no need to explain the impact Sabbath has had on metal; at this point it’s common knowledge. Many have embraced their influence a little too much and have become copycats. Mist seems to have found a way to wear their influences on their sleeves without losing that originality. Formed in 2012, this is the band’s debut album.
With the opening track “The Ghoul”, Mist firmly roots itself in 70s style doom. If it isn’t clear from the guitar tone, it is definitely evident in the songwriting. Mid-tempo groove and largely monophonic vocal delivery, the record starts off strong. As with this track and others, the band shows their ability to write catchy melodies. I still had the chorus of this song stuck in my head long after I had finished listening to it. For better or for worse, this album is full of little earworms, whether it’s this track, the chorus from “White Torch”, or “Disembody Me”.
“Ora Pro Nobis” starts off with a wonderfully eerie intro that shifts into a groovy, triplet feel. Both parts of the song are great in their own right, but together it gives off conflicting feelings. The intro and title seem to promise an overall dark, occult-like atmosphere with the reverb-drenched drums and the mumbling vocals. The other half of this song gives a more angrier, rebellious vibe. Granted, the transition between the two styles is executed very well, and the riffs are heavy as hell. It seems as if the band is trying to explore two different distinct sounds and were unsure which one to go with, so they combined them. I personally enjoyed the intro a lot; I feel that it communicated an incredibly gloomy atmosphere, with dark undertones that helped drive that doom feeling home. It would be nice to see the band explore this more.
One of the standouts on this record are the vocals. The range and power behind Nina Spruk’s voice is incredible. One of my favorite moments is when the key change occurs in “White Torch” and it contrasts her ability to go from a dark, sultry low octave to the long, soaring high range. And then she really displays her power on the latter half of the track “The Offering”. Not only is the skill impressive, it fits the music very well. It isn’t rare for outstanding vocalists to pair up with other incredible bands but somehow not fit overall feeling of the band (looking at you, Periphery). Such is not the case for this band. Spruk’s vocals match the feel the band is going for; laid-back but with a sense of power behind it.
The song “December” is one of the bleakest tracks on this record with an achingly beautiful melody and ghostly vocals. The guitars really stand out on this one, delivering a depressing solo and backing away when the vocals come in. It’s definitely a standout song, as it is a bit of a change of tone from the previous few tracks.
While this whole album could have existed in the 1970s, “Disembody Me” really seems to be the time machine for going back. It’s slow and soulful with guitars showing their Hendrix influence while the vocals seem uncannily reminiscent of Jim Morrison, all tinged with the Sabbath atmosphere.
One of the most critical songs on a record is the title track. For me, this is what can make or break a record. This is because the track has to carry the weight of the entire album. If a band decides to name their record after a single track, then that means that all the expectations of the record rest on it. “Free Me of The Sun”, the final track is a great way for this record to end. Sorrowful, but with a sense of resolve, the album finisher seems to be saying “goodbye, but we’ll be back”. It’s not structured like the other songs; it has a more flowing feel to it, almost as if it was a jam session. I would love to hear more tracks like this in the future.
Full disclosure, this isn’t quite my style of music. I respect and appreciate Black Sabbath and all that they’ve done, but they’re not my go-to for music. That being said, I was impressed with this record. It’s a solid debut record. The band is still exploring their sound while showcasing their strong points. For me personally, I want to hear more of the dark, brooding atmospheres like those found in the intro of “Ora Pro Nobis”, or “December”, or “Free Me of The Sun”. For those who enjoy Sabbath-style doom, this is an album to check out.
1. The Ghoul
2. Ora Pro Nobis
3. White Torch
5. Altar of You
6. Disembody Me
7. The Offering
10. Free Me of The Sun
Total Playing Time: 48:16