A pestilent air rises from the underground, as it should. For however much black metal continues to be co-opted, commercialized, and crassly made into a (marketable) parody of itself, there exist true aesthetic terrorists with such fanatic ideology and frightening vision to keep the genre ?grounded? ? in the dirt, in the grime, of the soul.
MERRIMACK is one such band. Having made a cult name for themselves with 2001?s Horns Defeat Thorns demo and 2002?s Ashes of Purification debut album, this French horde have provocatively pursued their (ir)religious inspiration for 15 years, and have fully blossomed under the watchful eye of THE MORIBUND CULT. Those first fruits of evil? MERRIMACK?s Of Entropy and Life Denial, a real black metal record made with real ideology and vision, and one that bespoke a totality of depth ?n? depravity. The second fruit? Grey Rigorism, the swaggering, supremely confident follow-up that shows this French fivesome flexing muscles of creativity and depravity precious few can fathom, a mesmerizing miasma that?s elusively professionalism in an underground grown too lazy. And yet again, not just the underground will witness this malign muse.
Beginning foul life in 1994, MERRIMACK soon recorded their first demo, Act I, the following year. After some lineup shifts and live gigs, the band recorded a split demo with HIRILORN in 1998, and it was released by legendary underground label Drakkar Productions (Mutiilation, GRAND BELIAL?S KEY, Tsjuder, Warloghe). Although MERRIMACK?s sound was more atmospherically based during these years, both demos brought the band considerable attention.
But it was the aforementioned Horns Defeat Thorns demo where MERRIMACK?s scathing style truly began to blossom (these three demos have been compiled and released on CD by MORIBUND as Obsecrations to the Horned, in 2004). That scathing, filthy, and flaying style further blossomed a year later, in 2002, with MERRIMACK?s debut album, Ashes of Purification, which would soon sell out of its first pressing and go on to be considered a modern black metal classic. Also in 2002, MERRIMACK shed their first blood for MORIBUND through a limited-edition (and soon sold-out) 7? with Finnish filth horde (and fellow MORIBUND terrorists) SARGEIST. More gigs followed, alongside fellow terrorists as HORNA, Krieg, Antaeus, Celestia, Temple Of Baal, Darvulia, and many others.
Whereas Of Entropy and Life Denial located a delicate balance between towering might and contorting dexterity, here on Grey Rigorism MERRIMACK stretch out their compositional prowess toward more epic corridors ? pitch-black corridors that wind and wend, myriad permutations of sin and suffering around each corner, the band both vessel and orator. Once again recorded in the boomy ?n? roomy caverns of Necromorbus Studio (Watain, Funeral Mist), MERRIMACK also once again balance malicious underground spirit and wickedly simmered maturity, as Grey Rigorism is a testament to true underground spirit being suffused with startling professionalism. Hellfire and focus ? damnation awaits.