A pestilent air rises from the underground, as it should. For however much black metal continues to be co-opted, commercialized, and crassly made into a (marketable) parody of itself, there exist true aesthetic terrorists with such fanatic ideology and frightening vision to keep the genre grounded in the dirt, in the grime, of the soul. MERRIMACK is one such band. Having made a cult name for themselves with 2001's Horns Defeat Thorns demo and 2002's Ashes of Purification debut album, this French horde have provocatively pursued their (ir)religious inspiration for more than a decade, and now have signed a pact in blood with THE MORIBUND CULT. The first fruits of evil? MERRIMACK's Of Entropy and Life Denial, a real black metal record made with real ideology and vision, and one that bespeaks a totality of depth n' depravity. Not just the underground will witness its malign muse.
Beginning foul life in 1994, MERRIMACK soon recorded their first demo, Act I, the following year. After some lineup shifts and live gigs, the band recorded a split demo with HIRILORN in 1998, and it was released by legendary underground label Drakkar Productions (MUTIILATION, GRAND BELIAL'S KEY, TSJUDER, WARLOGHE). Although MERRIMACK's sound was more atmospherically based during these years, both demos brought the band considerable attention.
But it was the aforementioned Horns Defeat Thorns demo where MERRIMACK's scathing style truly began to blossom (these three demos have been compiled and released on CD by MORIBUND as Obsecrations to the Horned, in 2004). That scathing, filthy, and flaying style further blossomed a year later, in 2002, with MERRIMACK's debut album, Ashes of Purification, which would soon sell out of its first pressing and go on to be considered a modern black metal classic. Also in 2002, MERRIMACK shed their first blood for MORIBUND through a limited-edition (and soon sold-out) 7" with Finnish filth horde (and fellow MORIBUND terrorists) SARGEIST. More gigs followed, alongside fellow terrorists as KRIEG, HORNA, ANTAEUS, CELESTIA, TEMPLE OF BAAL, DARVULIA, and many others.
Such surprising mastery of the live domain certainly plays into the overt physicality across Of Entropy and Life Denial. Recorded in the boomy n' roomy caverns of Necromorbus Studio (WATAIN, FUNERAL MIST, ONDSKAPT, ARMAGEDDA), Of Entropy and Life Denial displays a band in full grasp of its menacing, mesmerizing powers. From the tortured throat of Terrorizt to the spiraling, soul-searing riffing of guitarists Perversifier and Feyd to the dynamic, keenly nuanced battery of bassist Dispater (GLORIOR BELLI) and drummer Necrolith, this 11-track treatise of beyond-the-shade dread locates that ever-elusive balance between malicious underground spirit and wickedly simmered maturity between towering might and contorting dexterity. Who will bear witness to this pestilence?