Mamiffer - The World Unseen Review

Let's go on a journey of mind, sound, and soul. 

Seattle-based, experimental ambient metal duo Mamiffer's latest album The World Unseen is a powerful record. The World Unseen is an experimental sonic trip through the subconscious. Heavy, droning synths and big, echo-y, spaghetti western guitars build a wall of serene sound that guides you through the album. Faith Coloccia's piano work and vocal arrangements are peaceful and mysterious. 

The band has said that the album is imperfect and incomplete. They reflect on that as an expression of loss, having the "empty space" on the album being a part of the texture. Listening to The World Unseen with this in mind highlighted that theme... Everything seemed so far away and gone. The songs blend together, leaving the album devoid of any particular standout tracks. This is meant to be listened to as a whole. 

From time to time during the run of this album, I was really reminded of Jon Anderson's (of Yes fame) 1976 solo album, Olias of Sunhillow, in The World Unseen's cinematic soundscape. Though the tones sound nothing alike, there were hints of a similar style going on in this release. The organ build-up intro from the opening track "By The Light of my Body" and the chanting chorus of the song "Mara" called back to the strange and diverse genre sound of 1970's prog rock concept albums. 

This album's huge, 27-minute centerpiece is the atmospheric epic, "Domestication of the Ewe", divided into three tracks. Part 1 begins with a thunderous soundscape of crashing waves and whipping winds, covered by a droning synth and keeps building from there. It's all noise. It sounds like it would be oppressive, and at some point does get to be a bit too long, but it can act as calming white noise after a while. Part 2 brings back the instrumentation, piano and strings building to a climax. Part 3's choral finale brings the suite to a beautiful close. 

"Parthenogenesis" returns with another bout of prog rock influence, complete with an ethereal choral section and cascading synth sounds fading out to end the album and completing our journey. This album is elegantly put-together and really rocks the essential element of being an ambient metal album. It's great for what it is and what it's supposed to be. 

Rating: 8/10

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