Review: Death Mantra For Lazarus ‘DMFL’

Over the last couple of years, especially since my time of being an attendee at the Portals Festivals, I have become increasingly more aware of instrumental post-rock bands. Long before the pandemic, I knew of Mogwai, God Is An Astronaut and Explosions In The Sky, but that was mostly it. Since writing for The Shaman my musical landscape has opened vastly, and in amongst all the heavier bands I’ve covered, I have found a true love for the post-rock.

Death Mantra For Lazarus 'DMFL' Artwork
Death Mantra For Lazarus ‘DMFL’ Artwork

With that in mind, and since reviewing the phenomenal Feed Me To The Waves album Apart late last year, I have been keen to find any likeminded souls out there making this emotional, soundscapy ambience to keep my soul brimming with warmth and a zen like calm.

Thankfully, this week, another wonderous work has landed in my lap, and even though it was released a couple of months back, the heavenly new Death Mantra For Lazarus long player, subtly entitled DMFL has gotten to me, and boy, has it gotten to me.

Seven tracks of opulent post-rock goodness, and for what seems like having been a decade in the making, this new work by the Italian quartet feels timeless. Over the course of the album, all sense of time and space just seems to fall away and is replaced by a sonic outpouring of euphoria and passion. With every new listen I embrace it more and more, and so by now, the time I am writing about it, it’s been the only thing on my stereo for days, and having it on loop, I am completely oblivious to both time and space anymore.

The sound resonates more towards a Mogwai styling and is less abrasive than God Is An Astronaut can be, but it nestles snuggly in between both bands, so I’m hoping that is a good benchmark for where we are at. Having no prior awareness of Death Mantra For Lazarus, I’m now firmly on board and I hope that after reading this, you too will search out the band, and this album, and see what I see after listening to it.

Opening with Church Superdelay, the band initially push me towards Maybeshewill, and having seen them live recently, I’m instantly transported to the Portals Festival set up, where this band would be perfectly at home. With a lavish mid-paced post-rock temperament filled with euphoric highs and pace progressions, the band really do capture how to elevate the experience in a timely, thought-out way. It isn’t at all heavy, favouring mood over intensity, with an eloquent and competent dynamic.

By the end I’m ready for track two, Nude, which continues down the same path as its predecessor. It feels both calm and joyous, and I guess you could say somewhat exposed, or even ‘nude’. It isn’t in any way threatening, but more so feels a little playful and free.

a lavish mid-paced post-rock temperament filled with euphoric highs and pace progressions…

Marbles eloquently drops into that little grey area between post-rock and shoegaze, and while it isn’t full of ethereal vocals, it has a real transcendent feel to it, which is less ying, and more yang. The clarity of the recording allows every cymbal clash to not only be heard but felt too, and given the chance to hear this without any other sound in the room, when the violin kicks in, it’s absolutely mind-blowing.

Laika Cold! Laika Cold! is a mellow masterpiece. Inspired, I believe, by Laika, the Soviet astronaut doggy, it has a real weightless and gravity free lightness to it. Like floating aimlessly in space, it really captures a sense of light and ambience.

Mina, track five, is where things get shaken up a little. After everything to this point, there’s a break from what’s been the norm. This track plays off the light and the dark, and a softer opening is replaced midway by an altogether darker, and more intense second half.

By track six, Like Dolphins, the band really are giving us a view behind the curtain and showing that there are still plenty of tricks up their sleeve. It is the first time there’s a vocal presence provided by Jester At Work, and boy is it impressive. A dark, husky voice rolls along, accompanied by a softer, gentler second vocal. Like something from a moody western, this track is gritty, without being too harsh. Complete with a powerful trumpet accompaniment throughout, its magical. Reminiscent of a Mark Lanegan vocal style, this inclusion just blows the piece away.

All that’s left after this revelation that is Memory Of Us, and as finales go, this is among the best. Again, it is mid-paced and gives one last snapshot at what this band excel at. It’s charming without being challenging and closes the album beautifully.

Coming away from the experience, I feel completely blessed to have been able to get the opportunity to review this DMFL, as it has been a highlight of the year for me. And all that’s left to say is please, please, please, take the time to check these guys out, they are incredible… and a side note for the Portals guys, 2024’s line up would look awesome with the inclusion of Death Mantra for Lazarus… wink wink…

Label: Vina Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Lee Beamish