Over the past decade, the musician known as A.L.N. has dedicated his recorded output as Mizmor to exploring themes of pain, suffering, survival, and acceptance through the lens of his faith and his subsequent apostasy. Along the way, he has established himself as one of the planet’s most patient and proficient purveyors of depressive doom metal. Each of Mizmor’s three full-lengths—2012’s self-titled debut, 2016’s Yodh, and 2019’s Cairn—are seething, slow-motion pileups of abrasive riffs, quiet acoustic passages, and suffocating despair.
On his latest release, a two-song EP called Wit’s End, A.L.N. looks outward rather than inward, redirecting his frustration toward those who ignore facts, evidence, and science, choosing instead to just have faith that God will protect them. “Trudging/ Dragging/ Crawling/ Weighing/ Sleeping/ Slogging/ On and on/ For how long?/ I’m so tired/ So very tired,” he growls in the EP’s title track—echoing the feelings of many people living through our current hellscape. Mizmor’s familiar snail’s-pace sludge rumbles and churns precariously, making the song feel even more harrowing. The guitars sound like giant, rusty excavators at work, and A.L.N. mucks up his vocal to mirror his fury: “Annihilation is the law,” he screams. “Disorder is our destiny.”
If the sound of “Wit’s End” feels familiar to Mizmor fans, the second track, “Pareidolia,” will stand out for the opposite reason. A.L.N. has incorporated ambient elements into his music before, but here, he jumps in feet first and emerges with a beautiful 14-minute piece that seems to hover just out of focus. The source material for the track is a worship song A.L.N. wrote and recorded more than a decade ago that captured, he says, his state of mind just before his spiritual overhaul. So he reversed it, stretched it out, added some reverb and sliced, diced, and distorted a variety of choral and solo vocals to create a flickering patchwork of melody and drone that slowly dims and then fades out. The song offers proof that A.L.N could easily disappear further down that musical path, or continue to drive one of doom’s heaviest vehicles down the road to deliverance.