|Review: Messora - The Door|
Year released: 2019
Genre: Death Metal
Review online: August 16, 2020
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Rated 4.4/5 (88%) (5 Votes)
When I first saw Messora's debut pop up in my queue, I took one look at the album cover and thought, "Yep, this is gonna be something avant-garde and I'm going to hate it." A perusal of the hilarious band photos and runic logo did nothing to dissuade me of that assumption, and when combined with the fact that this was initially a one-man band, I was preparing myself for an obnoxious vanity project from someone who was more interested in looking intelligent and artful than they were actually making music. Thankfully, this is one of those rare instances where I can say my first impression was dead wrong.
The Door is undeniably a Progressive Death Metal album, containing all the intricate song structures and complex time signatures you'd expect from that description. I would personally also expect the songs to be overloaded with irrelevant bells and whistles in an attempt to pass them off as deep and thoughtful, but while there's a little bit of that with the flat female narration and dull melodies of "Untethered", this is refreshingly a very guitar-centric album filled with driving riffs and killer leads, with some really cool harmonic interplay between the two on songs like album closer "The Tide" and the excellent "The Falling Star". The vocals of band leader Zach Dean are a dry croak that aren't exactly standout, but they do the job just fine. The biggest issue I have with this is that Zach is a better guitarist than he is a songwriter. The longer tracks on here typically go on for too long and end up being disjointed because of it, particularly on "The Veil", though shorter songs like "The Pond" aren't safe from that issue either. Generally speaking, the songs have a bunch of interconnecting parts that work between themselves very well, but they also end up creating self-contained sections that don't entirely relate to the others and lead to songs that just sort of stop rather than end.
Despite my issues, I found myself thoroughly impressed with this debut. It has some of the trademark problems I often have with the genre, but it also rises above them with superior musicianship and a distinct vision that does more than posture with a sense of superiority for the entire runtime. With some tightening to the songwriting, I can see this band really doing something special, but for now, this is a good start.
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