Mavradoxa - Lethean Lament - (8/10)
Published on July 5, 2017
Hot on the heels of their impressive debut, Sojourners, Rochester, New York’s return with their sophomore effort, Lethean Lament, which was recently released through Hypnotic Dirge Records. Where as their debut focused on a cold and frost-laden sound, their latest effort sees the rains, lush vegetation, and green soundscapes of spring time. The album’s six tracks sprawl across over an hour of atmospherically charged black metal; “Crimson Waves of Autumnal Flame” is nearly eighteen minutes on its own, so it’s grandiose in scope.
Fundamentally, Mavradoxa hasn’t changed much with their core sound. The band still utilizes slow building passages with minor key chord progressions and crunchy chords, rather than blazing along with trem riffs to no end. There seems to be a stronger emphasis on ethereal, picked passages, which causes the heavier riffing to seem that much heavier when applied. The percussion is pretty cool, occasionally picking up to near-blast speed, but mostly resides in an almost jazzy, laid back style. The production is quite warm, highlighting the guitars more than anything, yet nothing is lost in the mix. The addition of violins during two tracks is phenomenal, giving a very somber and introspective vibe during playback.
Lethean Lament is a rather enjoyable atmospheric black metal album suited for long hikes. The band’s slow burning songwriting approach requires multiple listens for the ethereal nature and minute details to burrow their way into your skull. While not a complete turn away from their debut, Mavradoxa’s latest album sees the band blending their woodsy Cascadian vibes with the post-tinged, acoustic style of later Agalloch. While the Appalachian frost of Sojourners has clearly lifted, Lethean Lament gives auditory homage to the regions visually stunning growing season.