Mül - _Litany Circus_
by: James Montague (4 out of 5)
As Charles Montgomery Burns might say, I don't know much about doom, but I know what I hate -- and I don't hate this. This doom project, though currently confined to small, select circles and word of mouth, compares favourably to the big hitters of the genre. The brainchild of one man in Bergen, Norway, Mül has put out five ambitious demos, and _Litany Circus_ is their daddy. As in the other demos, disparate elements are bounced about on the traditional death/doom canvas, but on _Litany Circus_ they rarely seem surplus to requirements.

The opening number "Litanus" is a right cracker. Torturously slow riffs are tinged with what feels like Middle Eastern melody, creating visions of bleak desert landscapes in the night; an uncomfortable passage of clean vocals feels appropriate to a passage of uncomfortable, drifting guitar noise; then a stomping death riff rises out of the morass to smack you across the skull. Wonderful.

A little acoustic guitar piece offers some respite before "Dreaming of the Black Tomorrow" torments the listener for another ten minutes. Immense, sluggish riffs groan along, while melancholic lead guitar, siren wails and other haunting effects are draped over the top. Pure bliss for the true doom fanatic -- horrible, wilting pain for anyone else. The final track, "Tsakel", has a little more impetus behind it, and features some achingly beautiful guitar work -- listening to it as I write the review, I feel my opinion of the demo rising sharply -- leading into a lengthy outro of folky ambience and sinister piano work. It feels rather like a collaboration between Raison d'Etre and Profanum, and while not terribly coherent, the constituent parts work a treat for this reviewer.

I really was surprised by how damn fine this independent release was, though you'd think that after more than ten years in extreme metal I'd know that being signed to a label and having loads of drooling fans means sweet fuck-all. This is definitely a band for the doom fiends -- Esoteric fans in particular -- to sink their teeth into. Heads down and thumbs up to a quite excellent piece of work.

(N.B. All Mül's demos are available for free download at the URL provided).

Contact: http://vindice.cjb.net

(article published 25/5/2004)


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