Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Murw: Kanker (2011)

I Lurw It

Heidens Hart recently submitted four records to me for review, and I decided to focus first on Murw's Kanker. Why? Because their name looks cool when I read it (although as it turns out, it just means "mellow"). The album art was also the most eye-catching of the bunch. Hey, I don't need a good reason.

Murw is a Dutch band that's been around for 15 years, but they've only released one split and a raft of demos. Kanker is their first full-length. From what I can gather, their previous work is generally lumped in with depressive black metal and atmospheric black metal. I don't have any idea what DBM is supposed to be, exactly (no one seems to know how to define it), and ABM tends to be boring. So I wasn't expecting a lot out of this one. I was very much surprised.

Given that I don't accept the DBM tag, I'm going to call Kanker black/doom metal. It's black metal played at a doomy pace, with death growl vocals, fully audible bass, and an overall depressing mood. But, as with all innovative music, it's not as simple as that. There's plenty of textural complexity and sonic experimentation, such as Opethian riffs and melodies, psychedelia, keyboards, bass-led sections, undistorted passages, and clean female vocals. And, take notice, it's produced perfectly.

All four songs are long, from seven and a half to almost twelve minutes. But with all of that dynamism, and melodies that will actually stick in your head, it doesn't get boring. On the contrary, it will keep you coming back for more. While the closing track is probably the weakest, if considered alone, I think that's the piece that makes the album such a rewarding listen. It's actually a little bit hopeful, so the record feels like a journey that you've made it through successfully. Or, at the very least, you haven't been completely broken.

The Verdict: Few debut full-lengths are this convincing, unique, and mature, but I suppose that's what happens when you spend well over a decade honing your craft. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.



  1. The song you posted kind of reminds me of another full length debut: The Morning Never Came.

  2. Yeah, that's another reason "DBM" doesn't really seem apt. It's about half doom, and with the death growls that pushes it almost into black/death/doom.

  3. This sounds GREAT! Thanks for the review! But no link, label, or distro?


  4. I really need to start including that: http://www.heidenshart.nl.nu/

    I'm just used to having releases that are either on Amazon (and linked in the image to Amazon) or that are on Bandcamp (and linked in the embedded player).