Space is the final frontier and Mesarthim believes it can take you there. Many bands claim to be atmospheric. Many try to be, but few truly succeed. Shifting your thoughts from scattered to collected, coursing to calm, placid to precipitous; creating images in your mind you don’t have to strain to see, images you may not even want there. But there’s more to it than that. A good atmosphere will do these things but a great one will transport you entirely, make you forget where you are, what you’re doing. It will move you, mentally and emotionally, and leave a lasting impression. When you listen you are stepping into another realm. You know it’s not real, but it could be. You want it to be. And this free-spirited individual from the land down under is on an ambitious mission to send you to the other side of the universe.
“Osteopenia” refers to bone mass loss that occurs during space travel. Mesarthim wants you to leave your body behind. Drifting in slowly with soft thermionic pulses, the song abruptly explodes into view as if some great cosmic beast breathed out a nebula. This is equal parts black metal intensity and soaring spacial keys. The corded clavier’s notes and the accompanying synthesized syncopation suspend over the backing riffs, at once carried by them and lifting them up. The two halves of the soundscape do follow each other. In fact they flow incredibly well together, but they also maintain a sense of separation. The end result is that each primary element is able to stand on its own. The piano’s light touch is encompassed and enhanced by synthetic swells; waves and sweeps and choruses of sound combining into full on electronic ambiance that weaves an independent tapestry. The riffs occasionally break away completely, leaving only the vastness of space and time. Then suddenly your ears are drawn back to the guitars as they rise and fall, expand and contract, then sway back and forth to surprisingly captivating effect. The patterns are often simple, gaseous in their imagery, but with volume and mass. Several layers of riffs compress into a mesmerizing aura that gradually condenses to form the album’s core.
“Declaration” picks up the pace and pulses with passion. Just five short minutes, it stands as its title suggests. You start to realize that in spite of the chance Mesarthim took at sounding overwrought (and even downright cheesy), there is an earnest and tangible desire to stand out, to show character. To create a sound and a vision far greater than the modest sum of its parts. The production is muddy where warranted, clear where it should be, and the high flying black metal screeches and cries add an exclamation point to each vehement passage. “Interstellar” builds a celestial staircase, focused and deliberate, each step made with conviction. The drums fire into the niches left by the methodical keystrokes and align the melodies like constellations. The mid-section drops you out of the brisk impulse drive cruise the album has been in since the first few minutes, only to then launch you through a wormhole at maximum warp. It doesn’t all pass by so quickly that you can’t get a good grasp of what’s going on. On the contrary, the music is always very spacious and inviting; there’s just the right amount of changes in tempo and shifts in momentum exactly where they need to be to keep everything fresh and exciting without overwhelming you.
The event horizon, “Abyss” draws all of the album’s components together. The smooth sensations of the fluctuating guitar and bass lines, the rhythmic rolling of the drums, and the dancing duet of the piano and snyth fuse into their greatest form yet. A few solos featured before, but none so moving as the one here. The universe is a playground, a sanctuary for your dreams, limited only by your imagination. This is not an abyss in the sense of endless crushing darkness, but rather boundless possibility, an infinite chasm to explore. The way the music sounds and feels betrays preconceptions and challenges the listener to look at everything from a different perspective. A sonic overload splashes synth, snare and cymbals to create tidal waves of energy blasting out a supernova that evaporates into a mist of stardust, leaving you “Floating” in reflection. A simple and short piano-centric piece, it bridges the album’s songs-so-far with its closer.
“Isolate” is akin to Abyss. It does not mean to be left alone here, drifting aimlessly through the cosmos. Rather it is to separate and concentrate. To sift through your mind and find a thought, a feeling that drives you, and set it apart. Climbing the Pillars of Creation themselves, Isolate lifts you up and leaves you there to put everything you have towards a goal as far away as the stars. Yet if the desire is present, and your will is strong, you can reach even beyond what you seek. The future is yours. What will your journey be like?