Three years back we, as so many, more than enthused about the impressive debut album from Australian metallers Meshiaak and now we find ourselves doing the same again with even greater rigour for its successor, Mask Of All Misery. Everything striking about that first album has been intensified and melded with even richer and bolder adventure resulting in an encounter which left us simply greedy for more.
Calling the band’s sound as metal is the easiest option but does not explore the richness of its tapestry. Thrash and groove metal collude with progressive and voracious rock ‘n’ roll across its unpredictable body with plenty more involved in its imagination. Equally familiar textures invite and tease alongside the band’s own uniqueness as songs rise drenched in drama and invention as well as contagious endeavour.
Formed in Melbourne by Danny Camilleri of 4ARM and Teramaze’s Dean Wells, Meshiaak’s line-up is completed by bassist Andrew Cameron and drummer David Godfrey who has replaced original rhythm caster Jon Dette between albums due to logistical reasons. Together the quartet snarl at and trespass, seduce and fascinate the senses across the ten tracks of Mask Of All Misery bringing reflections on toxic issues, intimate and worldly, to the fore.
It begins with the enthralling Miasma, a piece of music which instantly hooked the imagination with its mournful orchestration and melodic melancholy. Its initial portentous breath is soon a tempest of sound and intensity cored by a groove which just seeped under the skin. The predominantly instrumental track provides a deluge of craft and suggestion within its polluted air, closing with the same captivation it rose from before the album’s title track launches its own turbulent contagion.
There is no escaping a Metallica tinge to the track as it expands yet we can only say it is one mere hue in the Meshiaak web of imagination shaping this thrash bred but diversely woven gem. Camilleri’s tones are as commanding and gripping as the sounds around him as the track reveals its drama and infectiousness, grooves and hooks breeding the magnetism which melodies and atmospheric intimacy exploits with matching prowess.
Bury The Bodies is next up, strolling in with a tempestuous if controlled breath which vocals echo within the melodic wiring of Wells. It is an absorbing encounter only more fascinating with its haunting strings, open emotion, and classic metal lining; eclipsing its impressive predecessor through every drama filled second though its pinnacle moment within the album is quickly matched by the equally thrilling City Of Ghosts and its hardcore bleeding rock ‘n’ roll. As with all tracks, it soon evolves in enterprise and flavour, its body a flood of styles and textures honed into one predacious and thickly rousing incitement.
There is something Bloodsimple like to the following Face Of Stone, certainly initially but it too evolves its own character and web of diversity while Tears That Burn The Son finds an industrial edge to its thrash/groove bred trespass of the passions. There is a climatic tone to the track which only accentuates its catchiness and seductive irritancy, volatility that fuels an anthemic dispute and urgency swiftly contrasted by Doves and its melodic drama though the fire in its heart is a perpetual eruption across its serenade, the sparks raised by both the stirring tones of Camilleri and the sonic calm of his companions in maybe the album’s most majestic and darkest moment.
Through the aggressive defiance of In The Final Hour and the predatory instincts of Adrena, the album only entrenched itself deeper under the skin even if neither quite matched the heights of those before them. Truthfully though both songs left a lingering impression and manipulation with the second a ferocious insurgence we keep finding ourselves drawn to.
Godless brings the album to a fractious close, its dirty toxic breath and tetchy exploits raw magnetism and a great splenetic end to the album though it makes room for some just as arousing emotively embroiled vocal dexterity and melodic temptation.
If Meshiaak impressed and thrilled fans the first time, their second album will have them drooling; it did us and continues to as it lingers in the speakers keeping the exploration of new discoveries on delay.
Mask Of All Misery is out now via Mascot Records / Mascot Label Group.
Pete RingMaster 26/11/2019
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