Review: Mizmor ‘Prosaic’

Mizmor (מזמור – meaning Psalm in Hebrew) is a one-man project formed in 2012 by A.L.N. (Liam Neighbors) who to date has released four full-length albums of which Prosaic is the latest. It’s a tremendously prolific project that in addition to the aforementioned albums; several splits, singles, collaborations and EPs are also available of which 2022’s Wit’s End EP was the most recent, until now that is.

Mizmor 'Prosaic' Artwork
Mizmor ‘Prosaic’ Artwork

Thematically Prosaic, according to the press statement, concerns the ‘existential – primal and innate musings about cause, purpose, self, and god’, it is a ‘search for light and truth, or the fact that there is none…It is the fight for survival when reason and foundation has turned to nothingness…’ and with Mizmor itself representing ‘the manifestation of my long-felt depression, and neither have an end in sight’. Despite the grim nature of the lyrical output, A.L.N. states he was attempting to try and make the whole process of creating the record ‘more efficient and even fun at times’.

On a personal level, I have vague memories of hearing and being initially impressed by 2019s Cairn album, but for some reason not really investing any serious time into it. Being given the opportunity to review Prosaic, therefore, has meant that I can now rectify this situation and give the project the proper listen it deserves. I can’t wait.

Only An Expanse smacks you square in the chops with some pummelling ice-cold black metal. For the initial first four minutes, the track is absolutely relentless, assailing you on all sides before switching over to take on a more distinctly doomy route, the transition feeling seamless and natural and not awkwardly imposed. This is a pattern that alternates throughout, echoing the early ‘90s Norwegian scene, albeit with a fresher more contemporary sound. An excellent opener.

ultra heavy slow tempos and vocals filled with abject pain and despair…

Speaking of doom, No Place To Arrive appears to borrow from the harsher wing of the genre, ala Burning Witch, Khanate, Grief et al, ultra heavy slow tempos and vocals filled with abject pain and despair. An uncomfortable sound yet one which is so satisfying regardless. Some pleasant medieval folk-style acoustics feature briefly before leading us once more back into black metal territory, but of a more atmospheric kind whereby you can hear everything crystal clear and not like it’s been recorded in a bin.

Anything But at over eight minutes is the album’s shortest track and is simply majestic. There’s an emotional resonance present throughout its running time, and as highlighted at the start of the review, it fits in perfectly with the themes that A.L.N. has been focusing on with Prosaic and in this respect, similarities could be drawn to other such gloomy solo black metal outfits. Acceptance reminds me of Crowbar and their crushing all enveloping brand of southern sludge metal, and it’s unusual that I should have noticed this seeing as I’ve never especially been a fan of that band, or the NOLA scene for that matter.

It’s impressive how much noise one man can conjure, considering how Slipknot needs nine members to create even a basic level of intensity, which they still fail at spectacularly if I’m being brutally honest. Taken in combination with the by now ubiquitous speedier sections, it helps draw the album to an epic conclusion and one which has made the whole experience an absolute joy and delight to listen to.

On Prosiac, A.L.N. has definitely succeeded in his quest to avoid making ‘less self-indulgent music’. The record is so meticulously well-crafted yet moving, you’ll soon find yourself jamming it endlessly for the weeks and months to come. Outstanding.

Label: Profound Lore Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Reza Mills