Close by MessaRelease date: March 11, 2022
Label: Svart Records
Jazz-like diversions, saxophone, oud, piano, wailing melodies are all incorporated into beautifully produced moody doom: Close is an eclectic, omnivorous, deep and heavy leap forward from Messa.
I was listening to Led Zeppelin’s ‘No Quarter’ the other day and was struck by its sort of ‘lounge doom’ quality, and you could apply the same term to some moments here… a rich, thick sound, a smoky voice and just a great sound and dark haunting atmosphere to the bass and saxophone and voice segments.
A major component is of course Sara’s voice: the piercing resonant tones, mastery of different styles and sheer ranging power of the vocals set Messa in the top tier of clean doom vocalists, from ‘Suspended’s elastic swooping melody, to ‘Rubedo’s wavering whistles that are then doubled by the guitar.
It’s an eventful, constantly intriguing album where you don’t know what will happen next but know it will be something interesting and confidently-handled: an ambitious attitude that sees them covering so much musical ground while always sounding effortlessly like only themselves. There’s the frantic back and forth of ‘Dark Horse’ between nervous shuffling and galloping energy before it lurches into a hazy swamp of snaking twin solos; or, when ‘If You Want Her to Be Taken’ amps up the contrasts, angular skronking guitar and sax over thumping percussion plods, interspersed with some of the most hushed intimate vocal passages I’ve heard from the band.
For me Messa head towards the same realm as the doomy sounds of King Woman and Menace Ruine… to be clear, the similarity here is that they’re not at all similar but each completely, uncategorizably unique.