Imvated : Imvated cp15 : 2004
The third full length Murmansk album was recorded 26th February 2002 in the Boydell Room in Trinity College Dublin and released in 2004 on CDR in Belgium by the Imvated label.
Review by Brad Rose in Foxy Digitalis
In the land of Murmansk, the quiet man is king. Hushed tones and the sound of wind blowing through the leaves will raise the hairs on the back of your neck. It will feel like there's a storm tumbling in, even if the skies are clear and the sun is glowing. "Craterscape" is like the softening of jagged rock over time. It takes a hard, sharp stone and smoothes over its edges using nothing but water and wind. This single, 35-minute track follows the journey that one stone takes from the depths of the earth's core to it's final resting place in the bottom of a slow, steady creek.
As this epic opens, we are bombarded with the chaos of molten rock spewing from the heart of the earth and violently shooting toward the stars. Using a variety of junkyard percussion and scraped strings, Murmansk are overpowering. It's a controlled racket that feels almost daunting. Intermittent piano notes symbolize the process of this flowing magma trying to break off and form itself into smaller, singular pieces. This is as abrasive as I've heard Murmansk and the results are very impressive. However, everything eventually cools down and a calm washes over the proceedings. It's not the most subtle transition, but it works.
It's in the quiet moments, though, that Murmansk is most extraordinary. They offer up subtle shifts in wind speed and air quality which make a huge impact. It's the small things that should be cherished most, after all. We hear this rock transforming into something more stable. As it finds its way down the mountain and into the teeth of a white-water river, there is controlled chaos. It tumbles down the riverbed, searching for calmer waters. Laughing voices are like the other stones giggling at the newcomer, because they know any search for solemnity is useless. Scraped strings sound like they are being stretched to their limits as small pieces are randomly chipped off this descending stone. Electric guitar surges act as a conscience, not quite sure what to expect and frightened at the prospect of these rapids tearing it apart. The stress continues to build and the groans from the deep are a cradle, welcoming this newborn pebble into its bosom.
Each random skronk hints at the growing acceptance of the stone's eventual fate. Chips of rock continue being torn from all over its body until it's smooth and rounded. Over the course of many centuries, a once oblique and pointed shard has become a soft and beautiful river rock. It's grown from infancy into something seemingly unspectacular on the surface, but when its history is considered, it's actually quite astonishing. The only way to celebrate the rock's passage into adulthood is to throw a party, of course. And we're lucky that Murmansk obliges. A piano opens fire with a variety of choppy chords while guitars continue being plucked and scraped to infinity. It's a joyous explosion of sound, and is the perfect ending to this sprawling saga. "Craterscrape" is the story of a billion stones over a billion years. Even in condensed, aural form, the results are still quite spectacular. 8/10 -- Brad Rose (25 May, 2005)