Drone metal, whilst not exactly new, is in the grand scheme of things a relatively young genre and is being greatly explored by an increasing number of bands. Like most contemporary music, it’s roots are in classical, and classical music has a lot more in common with drone metal than one might initially think. One group who are no strangers to this fact are the mighty MMMD. With their eleventh album Egoismo, they continue to bring their classical roots into the modern day.
The nods to classical music aren’t just restricted to compositional sensibilities, the cosmic duo also favour the use of bowed instruments. This traditional instrumentation is often paired with low, sweeping synth patches, creating a rich and bass heavy texture, however they occasionally overbear the strings throughout the release. The grinding of the bow against the strings on the title track ‘Egoismo’ is incredibly intimate and in ways far more daunting than any wall of amplifiers. The ethereal vocals, akin to a Gregorian chant, further this level of intimacy. It is a shame however that they’re only present here and on the track ‘Verita Morr’ as these breathy rasps are a perfect partner to the scraping strings and synths. Indeed speaking of ‘Verita Morr’, this cut might just be the highlight. This culmination of MMMD’s musical facets results in a track which is dense, captivating and beautiful. The clockwork knelling of a bell and thumping percussion props the track up with just enough of a sway inducing pulse without becoming a distinctive beat, and the haunting vocal lines make a triumphant return.
Egoismo is an excellent foray into a genre both old and new, and wonderfully demonstrates that you can create dense dronescapes with at times minimal instrumentation. An album which can be as tense as it is calming, and overall, quite stunning.
Egoismo will be available through Antifrost Records on 13th September and is available here.
Words: Sean Elias