Album Review: Mist of Misery – Unalterable (Black Lion Records)

Stockholm’s Mist of Misery’s distinctive and decorative blending of symphonic black metal, DSBM, and a thimbleful of classical music elements has been being raved over by the listeners and critics alike ever since the birth of their 2016’s album Absence. The following year saw the arrival of two lauded short chapters — Shackles of Life and Fields of Isolation — both linking a good resemblance to the last album in terms of sonic aesthetics.

Both EP releases were loved by us. Read our review of Fields of Isolation here and Shackles of Life here.

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The departure of the long time solider Phlegathon (who left the band to focus more on his other band Hyperion) and the inclusion of Tenebris in the late 2017 marked a new era for Mist of Misery. With the new lineup, Mist of Misery recorded their third full length, Unalterable, during 2017-2018. Where the title track of the album was originally written in 2014, the rest of the numbers were composed in between 2017-2018. According to the band, this album differs from the previous efforts both in terms of production and composition.

Clocking in at nearly 2 hours, Unalterable is the longest and the most monumental record the band have produced to date.

“The title Unalterable refers to the path of life, unalterable despite all efforts to alter the course. How you’re bound to dwell in this miserable existence until life’s end.”, states the band.

It will be released on April 12th 2019 via Black Lion Records.

It’s an epic, a black metal epic which should come as no surprise. Especially if you’ve been following along with Mist of Misery’s career so far.

There is no denying that Unalterable is their most ambitious work to date. A 14-track, nearly 2 hour album is a hell of an investment for fans. Is it time well spent? Of bloody course it is.

Beginning with the atmospheric and haunting sounds that have become their trademark, A Window into Nothingness builds anticipation that is answered by the mood-altering Halls Emptiness. Howling darkness that swirls around you, the cold wind that blows leaves you feeling hollow and alone. In the darkness, a small flame is lit by the sound of violins but rather then create some light it only seems to enhance the shadows. Something waits and it is both horrifying and beautiful to experience.

It’s almost impossible to fathom that we’re actually only getting started with the album.

Cranking up the gothic melody and frantic black metal heaviness, Heir to Misfortune is a stunningly effective track, one that drips emotion. It’s followed by the shorter and somehow colder sounding A Forest of Disenchantments. The word ‘Misery’ in the band’s name is never more apt then when listening to a track like this. Yet it still remains a gorgeous listen.

Few black metal bands can blend icy heaviness and tear-jerking melody quite like Mist of Misery.

We then get the first of two cover tracks with Mist of Misery favourite, ColdWorld getting the treatment again with Red Snow. I’m unfamiliar with the original so have nothing to compare it too, however Mist of Misery make it sound immense.

The other comes later in the album and sees Dimmu Borgir’s classic Stormblåst given the Mist of Misery treatment. Better then the original? It’s very close as the symphonic flairs fits the band.

Elsewhere Desolation and Bleak Autumn bring lengthy dispositions of black metal horror laced with tearful melodies. Two tracks that once again showcase the phenomenal power that rests inside Mist of Misery.

No time for breaks, A Hollow Promise is next with its shadowy and sinister self. A trip into darkness built on a foundation of broken dreams and unspoken words. It’s the most depressing track of the album but it’s that kind of depressing beauty that everyone should experience at least once in their life.

Embracing Ruin, another 10+ minute track (it is a really long album) is broken up into segments to make it more palatable. While The Dying Light is a more simple Mist of Misery track that focuses predominantly on soaring rhythm and a thrilling drum beat with no vocals at all.

The end is nigh. Within Dark Dreams is haunting guitar melody, a roaring drum beat and harrowing vocals ticking all the right boxes. Before the penultimate title track closes things out, pushing the arduous feeling to even higher heights. This journey has been simply exhausting and it is exhilarating to reach the end but now what?

What a way it is for us to part ways and what an album Unalterable is.

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Mist of Misery – Unalterable Full Track Listing:

1. A window into Nothingness (Intro)
2. Halls of Emptiness
3. Heir to Misfortune
4. A Forest of Disenchantments
5. Red Snow (ColdWorld Cover)
6. Desolation
7. Bleak Autumn
8. A Hollow Promise
9. Embracing Ruin
10. Stormblåst (Dimmu Borgir Cover)
11. The Dying Light
12. Within Dark Dreams
13. Unalterable
14. Eternal Bereavment (Outro)

The album can be ordered via Bandcamp here as well as here. Find out more via Mist of Misery’s Facebook Page.

Mist of Misery - Unalterable (Black Lion Records)
  • The Final Score - 9.5/10
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