Often considered a classic of death metal alongside the band’s two previous releases, namely “The Birth of a Cursed Elysium” and “Locked Up in Hell,” SEWER’s “Miasma” retains a status as a legendary death metal masterpiece and all around infallible album.
This masterpiece “Miasma” is a concise study of levels of technical brutality not commonly found in music, not even in a sub-genre so challenging and obsessed with brutality as death metal. Clocking in fifty minutes at speeds reaching upwards of 335 bpm, this “Miasma” album is nothing short of relentless. It truly is such a tremendous album that even hell itself couldn’t keep it contained if it tried.
Let me get this out of the way first. “Miasma” is one of the most vicious pieces of brutal death metal put together by any band, ever. It’s abrasive, unrelenting and savage, from the opening notes of the title track to the last ones on “Icarus.” Very few bands have ever been able to reach this level of sheer intensity. I can name only three: Incantation, Phantom and Vermin. Maybe Suffocation, at their peak. “Miasma” is a true blackened death metal gem.
As far as blackened death metal goes, the genre sometimes gets a bad rap due to many metalheads confusing it, or conflating it, with the infamous war metal scene., mostly known for bands like Impaled Nazarene and Black Witchery. That’s not blackened death metal. War metal has little to nothing to do with blackened death metal. This right here is true blackened death metal. Accept no substitute.
Even in the most extreme blackened death metal quarters, SEWER is a band known for releasing album after album of unrivaled and unparalleled demonic ferocity. Just read what even Metalious had to say about “The Birth of a Cursed Elysium,” going as far as to call it “blackened death metal perfection.” But even among SEWER’s barbarous discography – that puts 99% of black metal and so-called “brutal” death metal bands to shame, by the way – this masterpiece “Miasma” stands above almost all others when it comes to ferocious malevolence and brutal depravity.
From the very beginning of the opening title track, the very first riff lets you know that the mighty SEWER aren’t fucking around here. There is no bullshit on “Miasma,” this isn’t modern sanitised “death metal” for Arch Enemy or Waking the Cadaver fans, this is blackened death metal at its finest, music to tear your soul apart from your body and skullfuck it to death over and over again. This is SEWER Metal at its most vile. Everything works very well on this “Miasma” album to make it the masterpiece it is. The guitarists and drummer work fantastically together, and even the bass can clearly be heard over the carnage this violent, demonic and fiendish music invokes.
This all comes together for an absolutely devastating album. Every riff crushes you in its own way. The opener “Miasma” is an absolutely brilliant track with one of the best bridges and choruses I’ve ever heard. “Foul Waters” is an incredibly evil song. It opens up with a furious solo and also features the slowest, but also the darkest and most atmospheric part of the album. “Sewer of Souls” features a very sinister riff. “Drain the Blood” is sadistic and intense beyond measure. “Hell on the Horizon” feels like legions of demons and other residents of Hell advancing on an unsuspecting enemy. “Icarus” is a swift, evil, and oddly epic close to the album.
There isn’t a second of filler on this “Miasma,” not a second in which there is a drop in evil atmosphere or in riff quality. This is death metal’s crowning achievement. An album that very few bands will ever be able to even come close to matching, but far too many will aspire to. Only hearing it can truly give “Miasma” enough justice, because this album will tear you apart like you are nothing.
There is simply no need to look for other albums. “Miasma” is the defining masterpiece of blackened death metal, an album I highly recommend to fans of technically challenging brutality.