28 Feb 2015

The Myrrors "Arena Negra"

Reviewed by Joseph Murphy.

Following their 2013 debut, "Burning Circles in the Sky", (recorded sometime in 2008), the Myrrors offer-up their second proper release, "Arena Negra", in late March from Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records. Even if you’re familiar with the Myrrors’ previous releases, "Arena Negra" will surprise you. It certainly surprised me. The Tucson, AZ band has delivered here an impressive talent for transcendence, both as a band in relation to their previous incarnations as well as sonically. "Arena Negra" is a four track, 40+ minute journey that explores an American Southwest brand of mystic rock, eerie while tapping, too, the otherworldly sight of disappearing desert horizons, especially early in the morning, or near dusk.

Apparent from the beginning, "Arena Negra" has more atmosphere than any of the band’s previous releases – and most other records for that matter. The diverse instrumentation is distinct across every track; each element is given space, building what, in the end, is an incredible sense of landscape. Listening to "Juanita Laguna Duerme Con Los Grillos", the mysterious, slow-building second track, one feels able to uncannily pinpoint the location of each sound in a room. Keep in mind, there’s a lot of sounds here, too. Like the other three tracks, there’s an apparent cultivation of this space and atmosphere that adds to the entire listening experience a sense of frenetic realism.

Like Australia’s Dirty Three, the Myrrors use stringed instruments like they’re meant to be destroyed, pushed to their absolute limit. The rough bowed drones that begin "Arena Negra" set the tone for the record. The Myrrors’ concern seems to be the attainment not of perfection but expression; each song, whether four or twenty minutes long, encapsulates a mood, an idea, or a place and sets fire to it – complete with everything you’d expect (improvised guitar, free form and eclectic rhythms, chants, chimes, horns, pulsing strings and organs) – to see what we can see within it.

The epic closer, "The Forward Path", is a master work, using the same sonic aesthetics of the other tracks but dovetailing them into an always-interesting and heavy composition that reveals an appreciation for arrangement. Though a bit longer than twenty minutes, "The Forward Path" feels somehow streamlined, too; it doesn’t meditate too long upon any section of the song without the addition or variation of sounds. In a recent interview on this same site, Nik Rayne suggested another record was in the works. Meanwhile, they’re playing Levitation (Austin Psych Fest) in May and planning a tour. Prep your music playing device of choice for this one – and, hopefully soon, more like it.

"Arena Negra" is available for pre-order here in almost any form imaginable and various colors.

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