By Jonathan Smith
Grey Rigorism is the third full-length album from French black metallers Merrimack. The record starts out strong, but over the course of the hour-long running time things become somewhat inconsistent at points. What’s worth mentioning first, however, is the album’s highlights. The first three tracks, especially “Kirjath-Ra,” plunge the listener back into the gloriously rough waters that Merrimack churn up when they are at their best. Terrorizt’s vocals are full of ragged venom but remain discernable enough at points to convey the chaos in the lyrics. Necrolith propels the album along with his furious and steady blast-beats. Perversifier and EsX’s guitars buzz along like a swarm of angry hornets, occasionally letting up long enough to allow a power chord to saw through any pause in the commotion. The title track “Grey Rigorism” begins with an eerie industrial white noise, and the while the effect is cool, the fact that it turns up again halfway through the track serves to interrupt the vibe. This is an issue similar to that which rears its horned head a few times throughout Grey Rigorism. Both “La Sainteté du Mal” and “Désaveu” are largely centered around monologues with some instrumental backing, and their placement abruptly breaks the audio enchantment that the band has been weaving throughout the preceding tracks. It becomes more difficult to be sucked back into things at that point. Without such tracks, Grey Rigorism’s atmosphere would be better maintained. Despite any of its issues, however, the album remains worth a listen for black metal fans just as Merrimack remains a band worth following into the future.