Review & Album Premiere: Might, Abyss

MIGHT (photo by Ana Muhi)

Hanover, Germany, two-piece Might will release their second full-length, Abyss, on Friday, Aug. 26. It is their sophomore outing to be issued by respected purveyor Exile on Mainstream behind their 2020 self-titled debut (review here) and bears the marks of a purposeful creative progression, as Ana Muhi and Sven “Missu” Missulis steadily work themselves into a varied succession of genres across the included 11 songs/38 minutes, from the piano-into-rumbling-post-doom of the intro “Naked Light” and the tense chug and groove of the subsequent “Lost,” trading vocals already in refuse-to-make-it-a-pattern fashion and continuing through the semi-title-track “Abysses” with a dug-in atmospheric grunge before “Circles” breaks out the pop-punk to start a procession of three two-and-a-half-minute cuts, the subsequent “Who’s Ahead” and “Tightrope Walk” delving between modern post-Jarboe-ist piano avant — one might think of Lingua Ignota, but that’s only part of it — and acoustic contemplation, respectively.

Presumably that’s side A of Abyss, and there are a few lessons to be gleaned from it. First, Might are a band suited to any and all expanded definitions of what’s ‘heavy.’ That is, while “Naked Light,” “Lost” and “Abysses” might serve as early representation for distorted tones and harder-hitting ideologies, mourning what’s lost in environment and innocence, trying to find some way through if not out. The answer to that, of course, is the music itself is the way out, but one still has to write the songs, which obviously Might do or you and I wouldn’t be sitting down having this nice chat about them. But after this initial sweep comes the swap-swap-swap of “Circles,” “Who’s Ahead” — the lyrics to this are likewise minimal and evocative; that line about changing an activation code; what a sense of place and feeling and time conveyed through such a mundane image; where are they when this is happening, I wonder; who’s picking those dead flowers at the side of the road?; where are they going? — and the centerpiece “Tightrope Walk,” which taps into indie folk with a showcase for Muhi‘s vocals in less theatrical form than “Who’s Ahead” just before while remaining no less expressive. And it’s not that the ‘other stuff’ is richer somehow than the ‘heavier stuff’ — let me be clear: it isn’t — but that’s precisely the point. Wherever Might go on Abyss sound-wise is secondary to the weight of intention and conveyance that comes through in the material. The second lesson, then, is that Might are going to do whatever they feel and no less. Righteous.

“How Sad a Fate” repeats obscure lines around ranging tones and a looming sense of threat, is somehow punk in its point of view but not at all in the delivery, which moves in its later reaches into as genuine a lurch as Might have yet produced. But their attentions don’t stay in one place too long, ever, on Abyss, and “Shrine” picks up directly to answer the punk waiting to burst out in the song before with a verse led by Missulis and turns into guttural intensity for just a moment before it spaces out and thrusts into extreme metal, turning again to its rolling verse, like Might decided to find out what might’ve happened if Darkthrone went to an art school taught by Sonic Youth. Oh and the song’s also under three minutes long. So yes, there’s a fair amount packed in there. But as ever, Might carry it through with a smoothness that seems counterintuitive to their willing lack of precision — Abyss flows despite its stylistic complexities and part of that stems from the organic, playing-live (though it’s impossible with just the two of them and the amount of instruments they use; see the videos below with a projected Missulis on drums) feel of the songs; it’s not that they’re not tight, they’re just not tight-assed — and which speaks to their history together, personal as well as their time together in Deamon’s Child, whose dissolution in 2020 led to the starting of this newer outfit.

The subsequent “Lucky Me” picks up on the brutal letting-loose of “Shrine” before it and is grander in the unfolding. It, “How Sad a Fate” and “Abysses” are the only pieces that run longer than either side of 2.5-3.5 minutes, and they provide landmarks throughout, but “Lucky Me” is the nastiest of the bunch, with a forward stomp of kick drum and snare behind sharp riffing and vocal barks from Muhi initially that move into uptempo-but-still-weighted chugs and twists before a drop at the midsection recalls the ambience from which the song burst forth without actually bringing it back, instead exploring an open field of remaining-anxious pastoralia before resuming its relative onslaught. One last recitation of the title, and birdsong provides a transition into the returned piano balladry of “Dear Life” in a purposeful-seeming resonant echo of “Who’s Ahead” and before capping with a wash of nasty noise, “Holy Wars” rings out a kind of longing in its guitar and Missulis‘ vocals, a kind of heavy-indie vibe persisting into the heavier movement that follows, which in turn unfurls into the aforementioned some-say-fire-some-say-ice-we-say-feedback ending of the record, which feels very much like the punctuation at the end of the sentence of the proceedings in their entirety.

Would it be a surprise to call Abyss immersive? I mean, they titled the album Abyss. In any case, one can’t and won’t argue with either their mournful, angry, curious or disappointed points of view here, as well as the varied means through which those are brought to bear. This band isn’t going to be for everybody and they’re not trying to be. But maybe they’re for you, and I know of one sure way to find out.

Accordingly, enjoy:

Abyss will be released through Exile On Mainstream on August 26th, pressed on LP and CD and available on all digital services. Find preorders HERE:

Ana Muhi on Abyss:

“I am grateful that we have the chance to release our new album called Abyss. This world is a beautiful place. But we’re all standing on the edge of an abyss. Human rights violations, racism, climate change. It’s an individual decision not to be part of that hate. Everyone can contribute to stop this absolute madness. That’s what it’s all about. Music is a way to get in touch and jump over that damned fucking abyss. At least to have a blast before we die in pain.”

Sven Missullis on Abyss:

“We are very happy to work again with Exile On Mainstream and our good friend Andreas. For us it was never a question, and it may not have been for him either, because he had not heard a single tone until we sent the finished master for pressing. Using the artwork was a dream come true, especially for me. I am a huge fan of Zdzisław Beksiński. I dreamed about using his painting – the one we used for our album – and showed it to Ana. She also fell in love with it. So, I got in contact with the Historical Museum in Sanok which owns the rights of all works of Beksiński, who sadly was murdered in 2005. The director of the museum, Jarosław Serafin, is a very nice person. He gave us the license for using the painting. Bam!

“The recording process was intense but also stress-free, which doesn’t mean there was no chaos, but we have our own studio and so time doesn’t matter. We can record whenever we want and how long we want. In the middle of the recording process there were these Exile On Mainstream Roadshows with Confusion Master, Gaffa Ghandi, and MIGHT. At that point we didn’t want to play any of the new songs live, so we had to rehearse our first album in the middle of recording a new album. That was a bit strange but also refreshing and we made a two-week break from the studio. Besides the release, I am very much looking forward to the next shows in September where we will play those new songs for the very first time.”

MIGHT’s Abyss was entirely recorded, mixed, and mastered by the band. The album’s cover is fitted with a 1976 oil painting by Polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński. The impression of the painting, as oppressive as it may seem at first glance, nevertheless radiates a warming confidence and security. This makes the image a fantastic visualization of MIGHT’s music.

Delicate piano sounds are being buried under thick, viscous lava of distorted guitars and a mean bass. Hovering above it, Ana’s subtle, yet haunting voice connects tragedy with hope in a world gone haywire. Or seems like it. Sometimes she must scream. MIGHT is a must-hear band for fans of Chelsea Wolfe, Emma Ruth Rundle, Jarboe, Dolch, Treedeon, Neurosis, Ides Of Gemini, and Black Mare.

9/02/2022 KuFa – Braunschweig, DE
9/09/2022 South Of Mainstream Festival – Berlin, DE
11/05/2022 – Bei Chez Heinz – Hannover, DE

Might, “How Sad a Fate” official video

Might, “Shrine” official video

Might website

Might on Bandcamp

Might on Facebook

Exile on Mainstream on Instagram

Exile on Mainstream website

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3 Responses to “Review & Album Premiere: Might, Abyss

  1. […] through their allies at Exile On Mainstream. Preceding its official unveiling, trusted music portal The Obelisk is hosting an exclusive stream of the entire […]

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