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Mountain Of Misery - In Roundness review

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Band: Mountain Of Misery
Album: In Roundness
Release date: November 2023

01. Not Away
02. Hang So Low
03. The Rain Is My Love
04. Circle In Roundness
05. Climb By The Sundown
06. The Misery

Considering they came out with at least something every year between 2016 and 2021, it’s been a quiet couple of years for Spaceslug. Going some way to filling the void left by them is Mountain Of Misery.

When I say In Roundness, the debut of Mountain Of Misery, sounds like Spaceslug, I mean they sound a lot like Spaceslug. To be fair, though, that’s fairly understandable when you discover that Mountain Of Misery is the solo project of Spaceslug drummer Kamil Ziółkowski. Ziółkowski already contributes vocals in Spaceslug, so it’s unsurprising that this album sounds reminiscent of his other band on that front, but unless Spaceslug guitarist Bartosz Janik is an uncredited guest on In Roundness, Ziółkowski has clearly learned how to imitate his bandmate’s playing style. The resemblance is uncanny, but given how good their main band is, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

What’s interesting about In Roundness is that, while it sounds like a Spaceslug album, it more specifically sounds like an early Spaceslug album, like Time Travel Dilemma. The dabblings with extreme vocals and post-metal from Memorial are absent here, as instead Ziółkowski sticks to mellow fuzzy stoner riffs and lush psychedelic textures. This is a very easy-going album; even at its most driven and energetic, such as the slick desert rocker “Climb By The Sundown”, there’s a softness to the distortion that makes it very inviting. At the same time, Ziółkowski’s muted, understated vocal style adds a slight alien touch to proceedings, creating a sense of mystery and distance with the listener, and that slight tinge of melancholy that albums such as Reign Of The Orion possess has also been carried over here in moments.

Across 6 songs and 36 minutes, Ziółkowski offers some range; “Not Away” is hazy, mid-tempo meandering in the vein of Time Travel Dilemma, while “Hang So Low” is another more driven rocker of a song. The two tracks that perhaps stand out the most are “The Rain Is My Love”, which has a slight Alice In Chains feel to some of the vocal harmonies, and 9-minute closer “The Misery”, which has an extended soft jamlike opening sequence, but then heavy doomy riffing later on.

Ultimately, though, for those already familiar with Spaceslug, there’s not all that much more to say about In Roundness, and for those not yet familiar with Spaceslug, this is a less consistently compelling take on this sound to Ziółkowski’s main band. Without reducing it to ‘Spaceslug at home’ meme status, In Roundness does perhaps feel like a compilation of song ideas that missed the cut for Spaceslug’s official releases. It has the right vibe for fans of the band to enjoy, and it does most things right (although the vocals occasionally feel a tad off in a way they never really do when Ziółkowski is performing in his main band); it just doesn’t quite have the strength in depth to it on the songwriting front.

It's cool to see Ziółkowski having a stab a writing an album entirely by himself, and the results are perfectly pleasant. As an entry point to Ziółkowski’s music for the uninitiated, In Roundness does exhibit the virtues that has made Spaceslug’s music so distinctive and compelling within the stoner metal scene; it just falls a bit short on the memorability front.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 5
Production: 7

Written on 29.11.2023 by Hey chief let's talk why not

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