Album Review: Miasmal - "Cursed Redeemer"

Let's play a little word association game. I'll say a word and you say the first thing that comes to mind. Ready? Swedish. Now, you might have replied with "meatballs", "fish" of "chef" but what comes to my mind lately when I hear the word Swedish is "death metal". The Swedish people sure do love their death metal. And this week we've got another example with the band Miasmal.

"Cursed Redeemer" is the sophomore full-length record from Miasmal, a death metal outfit from Gothenburg, Sweden. They're a four member group made up of Björn on drums, Magnus playing guitars and providing backing vocals, Ruben pounding the bass and Pontus providing the vocals and other guitars.

After my first listen to "Cursed Redeemer", I didn't really care for the band. It wasn't bad. It just didn't sound any different than the mass of other Swedish death metal units out there. Blah, blah, blah. My initial opinion was that Miasmal is not pushing the envelope or adding to the genre so they're just another of those bands who will fade away into obscurity.

Then I read their bio and the motivation behind starting Miasmal. In that bio, Pontus explains, “When we started the band, the goal was to simply play old school death metal under influence from Autopsy, Entombed, Bolt Thrower and the likes. We weren't really aware at all about what was going on around us in the metal scene, and it just turned out the way it did."

With that as their stated goal, I feel Miasmal has achieved it. Old school death metal is certainly what they are all about. So, with that in mind, I gave the record another listen.

During subsequent listenings, I realized there's a bit more happening on "Cursed Redeemer" than I first noticed. There's a subtle thrash influence going on here and a bit more rock and roll than your average death metal record. Since thrash evolved from punk it's no surprise that I heard some punk in there as well. The leads are distinctly NOT traditional death metal and add a slightly different dynamic to the sound. Miasmal is a hybrid of a variety of musical influences and they bring it together very well.

"Cursed Redeemer" consists of eight songs with a total running time of 37:09. As I mentioned, the songs are a twist on what we've come to expect from a Swedish death metal band. They are enjoyable but did not blow me away. A couple of standouts from the album are "Whiskey Train" and "A Veiled Remembrance".

Apparently, the album was recorded "...in no more than 7 days at the mighty Studio Fredman". That being the case, the album is, thankfully, not over-produced so what we're left with is a pretty straightforward death metal sound.

Overall, "Cursed Redeemer" is an enjoyable album in the Swedish death metal genre and I think folks who choose to pick up this record will not feel short changed. "Cursed Redeemer" is solid and well done and, even if it isn't my favorite, it may very well end up being yours. Now, bring on the Swedish fish!

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