Funeral Doom Friday: MESMUR Redefines Entropy With Cosmic Dirge on S
Finally, the weekend is upon us. What better way to kick it off than with the latest installment of "Funeral Doom Friday". For those who are new to this column; each week features a new or classic album from the realm of extreme doom. Much of funeral/death doom's might comes from an oppressive emotional weight and the use of death or black metal motifs (played at a trudging pace, of course.) Pioneers like Mournful Congregation, Evoken, and Esoteric have mastered this blend of dirge and destruction. For 25 years, they have methodically built compositions that stretch for dozens of minutes all while keeping fans enthralled. Time has elapsed since the days of Thergothon and much like the world around us, the genre has evolved. Today's modern bands contort the very construct of the genre, breeding darkly refreshing new work. Their work thankfully gives this column plenty of material to share.
The closing instrumental track of Mesmur's second full-length album, "S = k ln Ω", gets its name from Ludwig Boltzmann's classic formula for statistical entropy. The Austrian physicist became so synonymous with the formula and his works tied to it that it eventually emblazoned his tombstone. Interestingly enough, Boltzmann's original formula read as S = K(b) lnW. "S" represents the total value of entropy whereas "k" is a constant value. "W" meanwhile referred to a probability that something known as a macrostate would occur. However, the Ω value that Mesmur presents is a symbol for the attempt to group infinite amounts of microstates into a subsequent macrostate.
The infinite amount associated with Ω consequently brings the formula towards the second law of thermodynamics; or: "the total entropy can only increase over time for an isolated system, meaning a system which neither energy nor matter can enter or leave." For the international effort of Mesmur, their isolated system is the universe portrayed by their music. Their entropy—or S as the album is titled—is an ever-shifting, unpredictable display of cosmic funeral doom. The opening song, "Singularity", strikes right away with Evoken-like force. Ominous and oppressive, it trudges on with riffs that seem to continue to slowly crawl towards the heavens.
Guitarist and synth-wielder, Jeremy Lewis, handles much of this celestial dirge. Jeremy said in a statement regarding the release of S; "This album is very different from anything we've done before. The compositions, the production, the atmosphere, and the lyrical subject matter are all much bigger in scope than on our debut, and I think that these elements work together to create a frightening and unsettling, but hopefully also captivating view of the universe- doom on a cosmic level. I'm really excited to release this record."
S is certainly big and captivating. Lewis is joined by the thunderous bellow of Chris C, drummer John Devos, and bassist Michele Mura. As S progresses much of the shifting styles start to emerge. "Exile" and "Distension" begin to weave in textured melody to a menacing low-end. The aforementioned closing track, "S = k ln Ω", is a synth-heavy spiral into the infinite ends of the cosmos. The subtle and eerily soothing finale puts a sensational and somewhat contrasting cap on the quartet's newest offering.
What Mesmur has accomplished on this record is, without doubt, something remarkable. Their universal focus rivals that of another recent project of Imperceptum. It also simultaneously calls to mind some of funeral doom's earliest veterans as well. Notably, there were touches of Esoteric amongst the compositions as well as the earlier mentioned Evoken. Listen to S below and follow Mesmur on Facebook. Also, pick up a copy of the album from Bandcamp.