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Album Of The Month April 2007
Mithras | ‘Behind The Shadows Lie Madness’

Good death metal is getting scarcer.

Yeah, so bands are getting tighter, faster, more punishing, and ever more insistent in their touring. But it doesn’t mean the songs are improving.

Even in the opposite direction the same is true – no matter how much you try to sound like old Entombed, there’s the nagging understanding that it’s done for precisely that reason and not for any truer goal.

The UK’s much embattled Mithras suffer from neither of these problems.

Having wisely kept their heads down for the last three years after the unedifying controversy surrounding their last, and really very good album (you don’t want to know), this duo could have faded safely into either obscurity or the employ of other bands and never came back.

It’s lucky for us they didn’t, because ‘Behind The Shadows Lie Madness’ is a commanding act of death metal art in its best and most captivating form.

As with all the best albums, it’s all about the songs.

Initial criticisms could be offered that it just sounds way too much like Morbid Angel, and no-one’s arguing. It does, like crazy.

But The Ancient Ones’ last album couldn’t even dream of being this amazing – a fact that lets Mithras further off the hook with every repeat listening.

Each track has worth, and each is brilliant in its own way. Blasting, spaced out, atmospheric death metal hasn’t been this cool in far too long.

Reminiscent of Angelcorpse at times in its unrelenting attack, and strangely of Benighted Leams’ arpeggiated, starry echo, it’s a genuine piece of underground attitude that demands to be heard and absorbed.

Every effort has been put in to capture an atmosphere of real otherness within their gatling gun death metal assault.

You get sucked in completely as it takes you through it’s galaxy of brilliant riffwork and crushing dark grooves – just listen to how ‘To Where The Sun Never Leaves’ tangles around itself, weaving up and down a latticework of guitar and crushing percussion.

This album does with guitar what chroma paper does to ink, and put beside the latest Aghora we’ve been spoiled indeed this year. Like Gorguts ‘Obscura’ before it, and of course Death’s ‘Individual Thought Patterns’ it’s an album with an aura.

How much of the shite you buy this year can you say that about? Precious little.

A triumph of persistence, and a reaffirmation of death metal’s rare but incredible potential to invigorate tired ears, you are advised to buy it this nanosecond.

It’s utterly immersive, and an unequivocal validation of the band’s brilliant talent.

4.8 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 04/04/07

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