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Mekigah : Autexousious

Once again, Mekigah deliver an album that truly messes with preconceptions and grows on you the more you listen to it.

'Autexousious' sees Mekigah, who Doom-metal.com readers may remember from their interpretation of 'God is Alone' from our very own My Dying Bride tribute album last year, return with their fourth full length album. With the aid of Google, I was able to discover that the word autexousious means 'exercising free will'. And this is something that Mekigah have certainly done throughout their career and have continued to do on this latest release. By the band's own admission on their Bandcamp page, their music 'will not appeal to everyone', and it's certainly not likely to receive much radio airplay or provide any form of instant gratification, but it does grow on the listener with each listen and will ultimately get under your skin.

The album begins in typically enigmatic and unsettling style with the nightmarish 'Eroding Will'; a dark ambient journey into the darkest reaches of the subconscious punctuated with discordant background noise, distorted synths, and disturbing spoken word lyrics. At this point, you may be tempted to begin to make early assumptions about the album, but this would be to do it a disservice. 'Autexousious' is definitely an album that is best listened to in its entirety; individual tracks in isolation are enjoyable, but the cumulative effect of them listened to together is far greater. That kind of patience, perhaps not as much of a rarity in the Doom community as it is in amongst more mainstream fanbases, will be rewarded with a rich and thought-provoking experience. Probably not very cheerful thoughts, but thoughts will be provoked.

Such vocals as there are are often harsh distortion-filled growls or enigmatic chants, with only snatches here and there completely intelligible. Only on the excellent 'Zmatek' is there any kind of conventional vocal; a wonderfully strange, otherworldly performance that could perhaps have been applied more liberally throughout the album. All through 'Autexousious', disorientating background noise bamboozles the senses to create a mind bending dreamlike soundscape that wouldn't have been out of place as the score to the Lynchian nightmare unleashed in last year's divisive Twin Peaks: The Return. Whether it's, strictly speaking, Doom as such, is open to debate. There are certainly elements of the genre thrown into this eclectic gumbo of unsettling noise and opaque lyrics. But does it ultimately matter what genre, if any, an album can be classified as? Some records defy categorisation, and this is certainly one of them, unless we're talking in terms of categories such as 'Well, that's all very well, but is it any good', in which case, I can quite comfortably answer in the affirmative.

Strange, at times impenetrable, but always haunting and never dull, it's a challenging ride that will, sadly, lose a lot of listeners before the end. But those that stay until the distortion dies away, the voices grow silent, and the album is finally over will have had a rewarding experience that will grow with each listen. An interesting curio that I know I will return to many times.

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Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. Eroding Will
2. Autexousious
3. Fooled Blood
4. Zmatek
5. Diminished Responsibility
6. The Infinite Never
7. A Vast Abyss
8. Backpfeifengesicht
9. Rejection Nostalgia

Duration : Approx. 54 minutes

Visit the Mekigah bandpage.

Reviewed on 2018-02-20 by Nick Harkins
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