Miasmes is a relatively new French Black Metal trio, insofar that they seemingly banded together as a coherent entity as late as last year. Despite this, some would argue, rather late attendance to the party, the three very well-traveled musicians (between them they have experience in fifteen other bands, even if a few overlap) and seem to have a very clear-cut vision and/or goal in mind: Either to prove that the old-school Second Wave Black Metal of the nineties never ended (something particularly evident in both the gritty distortions across all five tracks as well as the gravelling growls that make up the vocal tracks) – Or perhaps prove that the time is right for a resurgence of said genre. Honestly, both of these seem rather plausible to me after giving Vermines (which translates from French to English into ‘Vermins’, Google kindly informed me) a spin. Then another. And then a third one, simply because I had to make sure that it wasn’t simply a re-release of an older nineties tape remastered and cleaned up (just a bit) for a new audience to enjoy. But no; It is, by any and all measurements of the definition I could come across, a modern take on this near-mythic genre that I seem to compare many bands as to belonging to these days.
I will point out, however, that it has been a while since I came across a modern band that emphasises the spirit of Mayhem and Emperor quite as well as Miasmes do (which translates into ‘Miasms’, another translation I should have been able to guess) – Even the cover art as depicted above perfectly encapsulates what I would expect to see on a vinyl from the above-mentioned period, right down to the black-and-white motif and Punk-adjacent font choice.
Sadly, I cannot sing its praises all day for two reasons – One is that, in order to fully reach the heights of our 100-step scale here at my beloved work-place, they have to deliver something new and unique to the table, as well as being inherently good and well-executed. While they certainly nail the last two, sadly and album like Vermines, by its very definition, offers relatively little new to the table – Even if one could argur that is probably why the likes of myself, who are still stuck in the past both musically and somewhat mentally, are drawn to it. To me it encompasses all that I enjoy about the mid-to-late nineties Black Metal stage, with it being unapologetic, gritty, massively distorted and imminently aggressive – A perfect back-drop to the lyrical themes of apostasy, decay and death. Granted, I personally needed a translator at hand to fully appreciate the lyrics, however that hardly is a strike against the band.
Vermines is a five track long Second Wave Black Metal extravaganza that I will definitely be seeing forward to hearing being played live across Europe at several festivals next summer if I in any way, shape or form can help it, even if I do hope that they will have the time to release a bit more material before then – Since, as I hinted at above, sadly another qualm I have with the release is that it is somewhat sort, being an EP with a running total just shy of twenty-three and a half minutes. Nevertheless, better a bit short than too long, and it certainly did what it set out to do; Namely put Miasmes on my radar. They probably say it best themselves on their FaceBook page, which merely states ‘Raw Black Metal’, a very apt description in my opinion.
As usual I naturally do not expect any of you potential readers to merely take me at my word – Below can be found a link to the title track of the album, ”Vermines” – Enjoy, I know I did.