Anyone who knows me well knows what an enormous, ravenous, turgidly engorged fan of Gnaw Their Tongues I am. I really, really love that project, maybe a little too much for a normal healthy adult. It’s fucking awesome. And, although Gnaw Their Tongues is by far my favourite of Mr. Mories’s projects, I have much love for the spooky dark world of Aderlating and the pounding, religious, frenzied metal assault of De Magia Veterum too. So, in a way, it’s weird that I’ve never really investigated much of Mories’s Seirom project. If I had, perhaps this album wouldn’t have been such a rude shock to me. But shocked I was, in much the same way as if the next Meshuggah album was full of polkas, or if the next Leviathan release was all truckin’ songs. Because this EP is about as far from Gnaw Their Tongues as a release could ever get.
As suggested by the reversed name, it turns out the project Seirom is the very opposite of normal Mories. For instance, the first piece (and title track) is almost the kind of uplifting indie electro shoegaze that wouldn’t be out of place on an advertisement for the latest ever-so-zippy (but oh-so-roomy) urban sportscar, complete with soaring lush feel-good harmonies and energetic techno drum sounds. I could almost taste the car deodoriser. Instead of the expected glut of despair and dread I normally associated with Mories’s work, I was delivered a healthy, slickly packaged, feel-good snack of positivity and wholesomeness. And, even more shockingly, it was pretty tasty, and went down surprisingly easily. (This car-ad vibe was revisited with the fifth track, ‘Desensitized’, although this commercial was filled with less sunny streets and smiling drivers, and more nighttime rain-glistening asphalt, neon signs, and long-exposure headlights. It was similarly positive and automobilic, but had a pinch more darkness about it.)
Mesmerized is simply a surprisingly positive-feeling release. It’s not until the third track, ‘Quiet Days’, that the first real sense of darkness enters the album, descending like a cloud, shrouding some of the former happy vibes with slight tinges of disharmony (really, only slight tinges), and I actually spent the whole track like a nervous picnicker, wondering if the cloud was going to pass, or if it was going to start raining (in the end, it never did, and the picnic was saved).
Six tracks in, however, and some melancholy creeps in! It’s the same street the snazzy yet roomy urban sportscar was driving around on earlier, but now there’s no one around, just dripping eaves on empty wet asphalt, and soft sad synths. It’s not dark-dark, not like Gnaw Their Tongues dark—not by a long shot—but it’s definitely a little wistful. Maybe ‘I Was Guided Here by Rooks’ is lonely, or even regretful; hell, maybe the sportscar got scratched?
In the end, I’m not sure how I feel about this release. On one hand, I guess Mories needs an outlet for all his feelings that aren’t murderous, perverse, disturbing, rapacious, or soul-crushingly despairing. On the other hand, I’m not sure I need to hear about it (much like a picture of someone else’s kid on Facebook, its existence is both totally justifiable and completely ignorable). On the third hand, though, each track is clearly a perfect piece of music—it’s almost impossible to fault anything about this release, from the spaciousness of the tracks and the sounds of the instruments to the composition of the pieces and the evocative powers of the music, to even the song lengths. Each track is incredibly well-produced and expertly arranged. In fact, you will probably love this release. But in the end, it’s purely a taste thing: I’m just not a fan of vaporwave or synthwave or advertising music (even ironically presented), and this release gets a little too close to that realm for my personal tastes. Mories’s ability to create distressing atmospheres is really the very finest in the game, and, compared to the dazzling god-like pinnacle of awesomeness he usually (and reliably) delivers, this release just didn’t rate. It was nice, but it never amazed. But it’d probably be great to sell cars to.
02) Why Spring Came Late this Year
03) Quiet Days
04) Always Leave
06) I Was Guided Here by Rooks
07) Something New