Formed in 2015 in Rochester city, Mavradoxa is a talented duo comprised by Nival (vocals, guitar and bass) and Lux (vocals and drums). Less than a year after their debut album, “Sojourners”, this Laurentian Black Metal band returns with their second full-length, “Lethean Lament”, out via Hypnotic Dirge Records. This album offers the listeners approximately one hour of atmospherically injected black metal.
The journey starts with “Cicadan”, an instrumental and acoustic lament on a laurentian forest scenario, featuring a violin solo by Andy McGirr. This collaboration successfully intensified the melancholic atmosphere. The devilish “Phantom visage” track reveals a production that clearly emphasise the somber guitars, which make the vocals fade into their distortion. Complemented with stormy drum beats, this track results in an interesting blackened doom with a sluggish, crusty and abrasive sonority.
Furthermore, the mournful lyrics direct your attention towards the album’s title, which can be interpreted as a reference to the River Lethe. This is one of the five rivers of the greek underworld (Hades), from which the tales claim that those who drank from it, would fall into a complete state of oblivion. The dead were required to drink from River Lethe waters in order to forget their earthly life. In addition to the previous tales about the river, Lethe was also the Greek spirit and personification of oblivion.
As we keep dwelling through “Lethean Lament” it will become clear that long songs are the norm. “Crimson Waves of Autumnal Flame”, with almost 18 minutes, is a perfect example of that. Counting with Makr Welden contribution on vocals, this track moves through moments of deep and calm introspection. Counting with clean vocals and acoustic notes switching into bursts of aggressive riffs and harsh growls, this track brings into the spotlight the organic drum work of Lux. This autumnal hymn is one of the tracks where the multiple layers of Mavradoxa’s music is most evident. With its mysticism able to replace your surroundings with visions of grand ancient forests.
On the other hand, “Across the Nival Grove”, with expansive and ethereal riffs will take us to a landscape filled with mountains and their slopes. Nonetheless, this track is filled with despair, encapsulating a whirlwind of emotions. Its most graceful feature is the communion between Lux and Nival vocals (even if just for few seconds) and Andy McGirr ‘s violin contribution.
This homage to the Laurentian regions blends wonderfully with the Cascadian vibes of fellow bands like Wolves in the Throne Room, Alda, Falls of Rauros and Agalloch. Perhaps “Lethean Lament” will bring some comfort to the souls of those still mourning the departure of Agalloch. Mavradoxa, with their successful effort in “Lethean Lament” managed to turn this soundscape into something even more wondrous, mystical and introspective.
7 / 10