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  • Writer's pictureSparky

Miasmata- ''Miasmata was born from the desire to write riff-focused, fast, and furious metal''

“The word Miasmata felt fitting for the band based on both of its meanings - the dark and intense elements of the music fit the oppressive, unwholesome, and foreboding definition of the word, but it also refers to pollution from decaying matter. The destruction of Earth and parallel worlds is a big theme lyrically at this point in the project's life.’’

Mike Wilson is the driving force behind Miasmata, a project hailing from Dunedin in the South Island of New Zealand. Miasmata is a genre bending blend of all things metal from the darkest of Black Metal to the power of pure Heavy Metal.

‘’I love both genres and have always been drawn towards music that is up-tempo, aggressive, and relentless. I also really love large uses of melody and the classic metal bands I started off listening to are still a big inspiration for me when it comes to writing and performing music. While Miasmata was born from the desire to write riff-focused, fast, and furious metal, melody is something I can never ignore and naturally manages to find its way into anything I write so I decided to embrace this and emphasise it amongst the more blackened approach to the songs’’.

‘’I think what separates Miasmata from the other projects I am or have been involved in is that it was created as an outlet for my favourite styles of guitar playing. Most of the other records I’ve had a hand in in recent years tend to be more on the atmospheric side of things, focusing on mood and feel and creating something huge from there. While there is still some of this in the mix with Miasmata, a lot of the songs were more based on being fun to play as a starting point and then shaped from there. I wanted the project to be something where I could sit down and start playing the songs on my guitar and enjoy it every time. I’m not sure what road Miasmata will take in the future but as it stands now, these songs all scratch that itch. ‘’

Metal is a place for complete freedom of musical and lyrical expression.

‘’Metal is quite a unique genre overall - you can find people from all walks of life who make music that sounds totally different to one another and touches upon almost any theme you can think of, yet it all fits under the same classification. I think the broadness of metal allows for a type of expression that is hard to find in other genres. There is something there musically or lyrically for everyone, you’ve just got to find it. ‘’

And he is not afraid to be labelled “’metal”’ musician.

‘’Definitely not. I love metal and will always be proud to be an active member in the expansive, worldwide community. There is something about the music you can connect with on an unexplainable level, and it is an outlet for individuals listening or performing. You just become part of something much bigger, it's hard to describe!’’

You a have an album Unlight: Songs of Earth and Atrophy for imminent release?

‘’That’s right, the debut album will be released on March 14th, 2021 via Naturmacht Productions. It contains 7 tracks and about 40 minutes of music overall. I’ve chipped away at it slowly for thepast couple of years and I think it has turned out to be a really solid debut!’’

Miasmata has a sound that is far more energetic than normal black metal and has some truly "Metal" moments that are epic.

‘’I think some of the energy and feeling in Caverns of Malachite and across Unlight… as a whole comes more from other genres other than black metal. I’ve always loved metal bands who can bring in a kind of punk or crust vibe, so I think that rubbed off when I was writing the album. There are heaps of traditional black metal elements there of course, but sometimes it just feels so much better to let loose and slam some power chords over an energetic punk beat! It just creates a different type of energy, something more visceral. I like songs to feel like they have a climactic moment as well and the more epic or ‘classic’ metal sounding parts work really well for that, I think.’’

There is no fear of melody

‘’I don’t think I could write a song without some form of melody no matter how hard I tried! I got heavily into bands like Iron Maiden, Blind Guardian, Slough Feg etc not long after I started playing guitar, so I think it is just what comes naturally to me regardless of the style.’’

The concept behind Unlight: Songs of Earth and Atrophy and Seven Hundred Steps

‘’While Unlight… isn't a concept album, the lyrics do all share similar themes for the most part. They centre around topics like the destruction of Earth and the downfall of humanity through neglect or wilful ignorance. Some of the songs are a bit more grounded and focus on the world as we know it, but others have a much more fantasy-focused angle and speak of more magical and sinister fates. That's another place where the classic heavy metal influence cuts through!’’

‘’Seven Hundred Steps is the only song on the record based on a pre-existing work, in this case Lovecraft's novella The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. The title refers to the Seven Hundred Steps of Deeper Slumber that the protagonist descends to enter the Enchanted Wood and begin his quest in the Dreamlands to find the alluring sunset city he has seen in his dreams. The story captured my imagination when I first read it and its imagery has stuck with me ever since. Admittedly, the tale is a little disjointed as it was never really revised or released officially during Lovecraft's lifetime, but it remains a favourite of mine and a unique piece in his bibliography. ‘’

‘’So far it has mostly been music that has influenced Miasmata but I have been a fan of literature for a long time so there will definitely be more room for that moving forward. History, horror, and fantasy novels will no doubt play more of a role in the music and lyrics in the future. ‘’

You must have a remarkably diverse record collection. How does a piece of music attract your attention? Is it musicianship or the vibe the band creates?

‘’When I was younger, I would have said it was musicianship and technical ability that I look for but these days it is definitely more based on a band's vibe. If the music connects with me on that visceral level, that's all I need. It doesn't matter if every note is played with precision or everything sounds like shit, it just needs to have that vibe. ‘’

The greatest riff ever written if it’s not yours.

‘’This might be the most difficult question I've ever been asked! The greatest riff ever written changes on a daily basis depending on what I've been listening to. Today, let's go with the tapping riff from the middle section of Morbid Angel's 'Sworn to the Black'. A classic, demented Azagthoth riff that I've loved since the first time I heard it’’.

Is Dunedin the unknown Metal haven for artists?

‘’I haven't been active or particularly involved in the Dunedin scene in recent years, but I do know that there is a rich vein of extremely talented and creative individuals and bands here creating unique and fantastic music. It feels like things are growing and I hope it continues and we can see even more acts emerge and make their mark. Some bands I've been enjoying in recent years include Swamp Dweller, Ayamvoid and Methchrist. People should definitely check them out if they're not familiar!’’

Future plans

‘’The next thing will be to start compiling new ideas for the next Miasmata record! I have a bunch of riffs and ideas floating around so I'm excited to see what path it takes. I don't have any other new projects in the pipeline, but we also may start work on a new Lysithea record at some point down the line.’’

Your top 6 albums of all time (maybe 7)

‘’Again, this would likely change depending on the day you ask me! But in no particular order:

Moonsorrow - Verisäkeet

Blind Guardian - Somewhere Far Beyond

Rush - Hemispheres

Wode - Servants of the Countercosmos

Opeth - Morningrise

Iron Maiden - Seventh Son of a Seventh Son

Autopsy - Mental Funeral

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