Tue 21st June 2005
At the core of extreme metal and the rock underground is a chemistry of innovation, intelligence and coalescence of genres that not only attracts people in the first place, but continues to amaze and inspire fans year on year as the latest perceived limitations of any one sound are quashed. One area of prominence in recent years has been the evolution of the blueprints laid down by Neurosis, in the "Hydrahead revolution". Bands like Isis, Cult of Luna and Pelican have captured the imagination of many a metal fan - stoner rock fans included - through the manipulation of soundscapes that manage and contrast the aggression of extreme metal with drawn out minimalist passages more traditionally found in prog-rock.
Naturally, as the fast moving world of extreme metal dictates, nobody is resting on their laurels. Already, only a few years since the defining 'Oceanic' release and even less since Pelican's 'Australasia' blew so many of us away, the sound is being merged with others, borrowed from and distorted. The original innovators of the sound strive to distance their latest releases from their past glories (see Cult of Luna's latest album 'Salvation' for an example), established bands from neighbouring genres have adapted to include elements of the style, and newly created, underground groups have a new piece to the jigsaw of influences that makes up their initial sound.
In this last bracket can be now added Sheffield's The Mirimar Disaster. Theirs is a concoction of the dynamics of the aforementioned sound, a pinch of the hardcore individuality of Dillinger Escape Plan, a dash of the metal bombast of Mastodon and a touch of the likes of Norma Jean. While this may to some sound like a mess, and to others like a recipe they've heard before many times in their local toilet-sized venue, The Mirimar Disaster have enough individuality to grab your attention, largely because of a melodic focus that grips the music. What this means, even ensures is that the moments of self-indulgence or pretentiousness typical of the bands listed above are curbed, so as not to lose the urgency and vibrancy of the music. And when every aggressive assault that launches from the speaker is underpinned with melody, it ensures that your interest never wanes.
There's an almost tangible sense of agitation between the influences of each band member as they itch to impose themselves upon the whole, ensuring innovation and digression and staving off any lazy aspersions toward lacklustre noise that others have fallen back on when their inspiration runs out. Neither does the evolution of each song detract from the song's designated structure.
The light and the shade; the pace and the restraint, are the obvious contrasts that The Mirimar Disaster have ingrained from their influences. 'Scenario', the opening track on this demo, applies the brakes to great effect after a huge riff opening and thrashed hardcore freneticism, so that the mellow guitar line accompanies a now-singing vocalist. The vocals fade away, but by the time they reappear, full-blooded and screamed, the track has been rebuilt, layered with increased drum and bass participation and an increasingly larger heavy guitar sound.
This level of musical architecture is evident across the all-too-short three-track introduction. Whether they can maintain the undoubtedly good, arguably excellent, standard on offer here is to be seen, but, with both its intricacies and its simplicities supported ably by the production (where others at this level are muddied), The Mirimar Disaster have created a fierce statement of intent to the UK hardcore community.