Album Review: Mizmor – Cairn 8.5 (Black Metal)

Written by Alex

  • Mizmor 
  • Cairn
  • Black Metal
  • Oregon, USA
  • September 6, 2019
  • 8.5/10


There was so much hype surrounding and leading up to this record. For good reason too, Mizmor has a track record of releasing genre-defying and spectacular works. I haven’t been following this band since the beginning of their career – it was 2016’s Yodh that got me interested in them initially.

Album art by Polish shooting star Mariousz Lewandowski of Mirror Reaper fame.

Mizmor is not a band that’s easy to listen to. In a similar vein to bands like Portal or Body Void, for example, this is a band that you’ve really got to pay attention too when listening. And even then, they’re an acquired taste. This band isn’t for everyone. It just so happens that I often love music like this.

This album has everything I love about Mizmor. It’s dark and claustrophobic in parts then melancholic and cavernous in others. This juxtaposition is what makes it hard to listen to at times but rewarding. They go from acoustic guitar passages, straight into black metal style drums and shrieking. It makes for an album that pulls a whole lot of varied emotions out of you. I think, vocally speaking, this is my favourite Mizmor album yet. The vocals are uncomfortable to listen to most of the time and that’s exactly what I wanted. Their vocalist has this way about his delivery that makes him sound like he’s howling in pain or screeching demonically. It’s very interesting to listen to and it’s one of the things that sets Mizmor apart.

The instrumentation on this record isn’t my favourite though. I found there to be too many slower passages. I wanted things to feel more balanced. That being said though, there is a lot more I like than I don’t as far as the instruments go. The guitar tone is perfect. It’s reminiscent of Sunn O))) to me in a lot of ways. The acoustic guitar parts are a great opposite from the fuzzy down-tuned sound the guitars on the rest of the album have.

That is what I’m getting at, the way that Mizmor plays with having such stark opposing sounds in their music. It’s what I love them for and that contrast doesn’t feel as prevalent on this album. I wanted more of these sounds clashing against each other in equal measure and I didn’t get enough of it.

But with that being said, this is still a great unique album.


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