Wednesday around 5, I’m dragging ass at the office because I’ve pretty much gotten everything done work wise that I could, so I decided to check my personal email. Lo and behold, Australian experimental black metal band Mesarthim dropped a new album that morning, entitled Ghost Condensate. I haven’t been keeping up with them the past few releases as they’d gone on a path that I wasn’t entirely enthusiastic about, but they’ve proven over and over that they’re worth the listen, even if it doesn’t fire on every cylinder with me, so I gave it a shot. And on that note, they have proven it once again.
Ghost Condensate is two 20 minute tracks that cover a lot of ground. The start of the first track, “Ghost Condensate I,” begins with a 1:15 intro that goes from synths to house beats, which gave me the vibe of the last time I had listened to them, which was that I was in for much more dance music than brutality and epic sweeping melodies. At 1:16, I realized that I was entirely wrong and should probably go back and listen to their last few releases, because I have been sleeping on them since 2016’s Isolate.
Double kick and blast beats and tremolo picked guitars are the black metal fair that we all know and love, but with Mesarthim they are overlayed by grand pieces that feel more Enya than anything else, and this gives the space travel feel that the band conveys throughout their history. We’re taken through epic sections where you’re a conqueror, dance and house interludes cut throughout which feel like transitions through wormholes, only to be blasted out the other side to slaughter more enemies and possibly lay with the womenfolk.
Track two, appropriately named “Ghost Condensate II,” wastes no time in getting to the grim metal side of the duo’s output. I swear to god there was a time when Cradle of Filth was good, and the opening of this track is reminiscent of that bygone era. The song, like the first, takes us up and down and weaves through emotions and aesthetics. My only true complaint is that, as this is only two tracks, there’s really no way to go through and start at parts that really resonated with me, but that just means I have to sit with the record as it was likely intended, so I’m okay with this. The record ends with a quieting, into a delicate ambient piece that feels like a well deserved rest.
Mesarthim are fantastic. Overall, I’m incredibly happy with this record. They seem to have hit the perfect mix of metal and electronic music they were always going for, and they also seem to have gotten a sick new horn synth. Sorry I didn’t give you a fairer shake, boys.