Born during the initial worldwide lockdown, hence the name, Doom Metal supergroup MMXX, formed by Andrea Chiodetti on guitar/keyboards along with Jesse Haff on drums and Egan O’Rourke covering bass. The latter two are both members of my all-time favourite Melodic Doom/Death Metal outfit, Daylight Dies. So, as a result, their latest offering, The Next Wave, a continuance on last year’s full-length Sacred Cargo, is a listening opportunity not to be missed from my perspective.
MMXX – The Next Wave EP (Candlelight Records)
Release Date: 14 April 2023
Words: Jools Green
“The pandemic proved an especially inspiring and creatively prolific time for MMXX,” the band said. “Our desire to keep Sacred Cargo short enough to fit on a single vinyl and our preferred sequencing of songs meant we had a few songs from the Sacred Cargo session left. As you will discover, they are by no means inferior, and we are pleased they will soon join our previous album as the ultimate epilogue to a global collaboration originating in the epicentre of pandemic isolation.”
The three-song EP, which spans seventeen well-filled minutes, follows the same format as the album, with different guest artists on each track. All three, Mikko Kotamäki, Mick Moss and Alicia Nurho, also featured on the previous full-length.
Opening with Isolation, this features Swallow The Sun’s hugely versatile vocalist Mikko Kotamaki, who, amongst delivering his mix of cleans and growls for them, has delivered a host of guest appearances, including adding a crushing bottom end to the vocals on the Shores Of Null album Beyond The Shores as well as demonstrating the extent of his capabilities delivering superbly acidic lead vocals on the “Majestic Black Metal” outfit Alghazanth’s Vinum Inctus album.
For me, this is the best track of the EP. It melds all the best bits of Swallow The Sun and Daylight Dies into a devastatingly haunting crusher of a track. Every time I listen, it sends a shudder down my spine. That contrasting meld of haunting melody and Mikko’s cavernous growl, which also boasts superb clarity of content, is just sublime.
The second track, Alone, is a powerfully bleak, hugely emotive track. A Funeral Doom offering featuring the powerful, haunting, slightly tortured cleans of Mick Moss from Antimatter and Sleeping Pulse, you can’t fail to be moved by this darkly evocative track.
Guest clean vocals from multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Alicia Nurho, who has also worked with Paradise Lost, add a very different slant to the closing track Echoes, a very reflective, clean and melancholic piece. A perfect ending to the EP.
Delivering a release with multiple vocalists can be a risky endeavour, but MMXX have triumphed with both Sacred Cargo and The Next Wave. Clearly, a great deal of thought has gone into choosing guest artists, and it has paid off.
On a final note, I will mention the “elephant in the room” and say that hopefully, the emergence/completion of this project might mean that after eleven years of silence, another Daylight Dies album might be on the horizon. I can only hope.