Contained within the meager frame of this 70 minute long album is a barrage of sound, fury and calculated aural abomination which puts the previous efforts of many bands to great shame. Twin vocal attacks bludgeon and pierce as a wall of dissonance and percussion paint landscapes of torment and decimation. Fleeting acoustic passages create contrast and offer slight respite from the wailing, atonal opuses, and indeed on first listen this album seems almost entirely and incomprehensibly chaotic, drawing equally from Canadian War Metal and the unique, horrific soundscapes of Portal, but after prolonged exposure patterns begin to appear, not just within the songs themselves but their progression throughout the album. The first several tracks are whiplash assaults of sonic violence, offering little breathing room for melody or tonality. "The Eternal Contempt of Man" marks a shift in Mitochondrion's attack, slowing down to assail the listener with truly twisted riffs which harken to the likes of Ved Buens Ende or Enslaved, and by the time "Oath in Defiance" rattles its dying breath, a near total transformation has occurred. "Wraithlike" relies less upon the constant cacophony of the earlier tracks, and more upon the build and release of epic, melodic crescendos. Still other tracks showcase such influences as doom metal and harsh noise, to one extent or another.
Despite this staggering sum of influences, Mitochondrion manage to create one of the most cohesive listens in recent memory, stringing together riffs, songs and styles as expertly as French innovators Magma did when creating the genre of Zeuhl. My only hope from this point onward is that more begin to pay attention to this and other bands, not content with perpetuating the same tepid sound until no one remains who is willing to pay attention. Without innovation or progression, the essence of art is dead. I for one hope this to mark a new beginning, rather than be a tragic swansong, falsely prophesying what could have been.