Estrangement, Disfigurementality (Aesthetic Death 2022)

Baroque funeral doom band Estrangement present their first full-length offering, Disfigurementality.

Estrangement is the creation of Australian musician JS, a multidisciplinary metal master. He incorporates baroque music with his metal premises, engaging the talents of other artists for the additional (non-metal) instruments such as double bass, violin, cello, piano, flute, and classical guitar. Add in guttural vocalizations and throat singing, and you have something new under the sun. This musical project has been active since 2010, releasing a demo and a split along the way. Disfigurementality is the first long-player by Estrangement.

“Destitution Stench” brings melancholy strings and a sorrowful, warning voice. It seems introductory at first, but really I think the song is better described as an invocation. “Detritivore” is the first track that gives you a clear view of what to expect for the rest of the album. Told at a funeral doom pace, the integration of grating, tortured vocals with strings, massive guitar riffs, percussion, and a flute is off in a direction you have never heard before, unless you have heard Estrangement.

There are slower, melodic movements throughout the set, like “Belong Beneath,” that have a soothing effect. Still, while you are hearing them, listening, you know that any moment the music will take a darker turn. Massive songs like “Womb of Worlds” and, especially, “Doppelganger,” are extensive journeys with rich, divergent constructions living together in both turmoil and harmony. I can hear this record as a funeral doom album, and I can also hear it as death metal. It is best just to admit that it isn’t any one thing, and take the trip for all it is worth. Recommended.

Disfigurementality is out on Friday, November 25th through Aesthetic Death. Find out more at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://estrangement.bandcamp.com/album/disfigurementality

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/estrangementdoom/

Aesthetic Death, https://www.aestheticdeath.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Estrangement, Disfigurementality (Aesthetic Death 2022)

Epitaphe, II (Aesthetic Death 2022)

French progressive doom band Epitaphe head off into new territory with their sophomore long-player, II.

Epitaphe began as far back as 2009. They released a demo in 2018, and their debut full-length album the following year, appropriately titled I. The musical style has elements of progressive death metal and funeral doom, usually rolled out in long movements. The first album had more of the latter, while this new one relies less on funeral doom. There is no mistaking that it is the same band, however, and the fans they have gathered so far will be grandly fulfilled by the new music.

There are three tracks that hover around the nineteen minute mark, plus an introductory movement and an outro. “Sycomore” begins the session sweetly, leaving you completely unprepared for the full-on assault that is “Celestial.” The ravaging brutality of this blistering metal affront is complicated by melodic vocals that materialize only to be devour by course growls. There are reinforced shocks throughout and, eventually, you can sense that disruptions are in the offing but they always still startle you when they hit.

“Melancholia” dives in with percussive creations that are tectonic, elemental. The compositional structure flattens out at times, allowing familiarity to lull you toward the ordinary, but it never stays that way long enough to give a firm footing. You only think you know what is next. This middle portion is my favorite of the set, and I especially appreciate the lead guitar work and, later, the funeral doom.

“Insignificant” recalls the intro piece with its initial gentleness, like a minstrel who has wandered into a dark, sinister forest and only slowly begins to realize what has happened. The metal here has a theatrical feel to it, and a sense of story is strong throughout. “Merging Within Nothingness” is a short cooldown. How you feel about it will depend on how you experienced the rest of the album. For me, I had a moment to realize, at least partially, the significance of what I had just listened to.

There is an arc here. Listening from beginning to end is more important with this album than with many. The full procession is the way to go. Highly recommended.

II is out on April 11th in digital, on CD through Aesthetic Death, and Gurgling Gore has the cassette.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://epitaphe.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/epitaphemetal/

Aesthetic Death, https://www.aestheticdeath.com/

Gurgling Gore, https://www.gurglinggore.com/

© Wayne Edwards.

Epitaphe, II (Aesthetic Death 2022)

Funeral Chasm, Omniversal Existence (Aesthetic Death 2021)

The first full-length album from Danish Funeral Doom duo Funeral Chasm is a rueful contemplation.

Funeral Chasm is Morten Lund and Danny Woe. The two have known each other for many years but this new band was created only last year. Omniversal Existence follows an EP from 2020, I, and lays the groundwork for future self-reflective excavations. Unlike most bands in this subgenre of doom, Funeral Chasm finds its lyrical content in contemporary questions and personal issues rather than having a preponderant emphasis on death.

There are eight tracks on the debut album, averaging in the six minute range. Each song is inspired by, or discovered through, Psilocybe cubensis, or a closely related cousin. Danny Woe describes it this way, discussing the way he deals with the symptoms of chronic insomnia…

“When those emotions are peaking, I have learned that the most effective way to break that thought loop is to visit my forest cabin with a friend and eat some magic mushrooms, which help me from spiralling further down into the abyss. I have tried to describe these monumental trips in every song, and what I’ve learned through them. Sometimes you just get a nice relaxing visit into another dimension, but other times you can experience deeper knowledge about yourself (often referred to as a ‘bad trip’ or ‘ego-death’), and that is the moment where you listen and get the opportunity to evolve.”

This makes sense when you listen to the album because it is so immersive. Consider the first song “Embellishment Of Inception.” There is a clear progression through a journey – a trip – which has many stages. The slow, dire music accompanied by both clean and coarse vocals can be experienced as revelatory. There are spacey moments and frightening ones. “The Truth That Nevers Was” is like a dark, forbidding tale of excruciating suffering that is elevated toward the end, rising out of complete hopelessness. Then the very next track, “Mesmerising Clarity,” has a lighter touch while still being dramatic. There is nuance and fully-formed, complex ideas at every turn.

In the land of Funeral Doom, Funeral Chasm has created a unique place that clearly belongs while it simultaneously stands apart. Recommended.

Omniversal Existence is out on Friday, July 2nd through Aesthetic Death.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://funeralchasm.bandcamp.com/album/omniversal-existence

Facebook, https://m.facebook.com/pages/category/Musician/Funeral-Chasm-103662204549338/

Aesthetic Death, https://www.aestheticdeath.com/

Funeral Chasm, Omniversal Existence (Aesthetic Death 2021)

Suffer Yourself, Rip Tide (Aesthetic Death 2021)

Intricate Funeral Doom laced with Death Metal is what you can expect from the new Suffer Yourself album, Rip Tide.

Suffer Yourself began in Poland as a one-man operation by Stanislav Govorukha (guitars and vocals). Over the years the roster has expanded and the new album includes contributions by Lars Abrahamsson (guitars), Kateryna Osmuk (drums), and Johan Selleskog (bass). Rip Tide is the third set from the band, following Ectoplasm (2016) and Inner Sanctum (2014).

The music is Funeral Doom, a category most glum. Suffer Yourself takes an expansive perspective on the genre and is not satisfied with ambient morosity. Instead, each song either has many movements that create a variegated aural landscape or has a second (and third) persistent intricacy that elevates the composition.

There are three tracks on Ripe Tide, starting with “Spit In The Chasm,” a twenty minute suite. It is here you find the full spectrum of the band on display, including soaking Funeral Doom, eerily floating vocals and calls, sudden burst of speed and diversions into torrid Death and Black Metal territory. It is a complex affair that unfolds like a darkly absorbing drama laid bare before you.

Next is “Désir de trépas maritime (Au bord de la mer je veux mourir)” which is quiet and somber  and features a beautiful, mournful cello in its first movement. Before the three minute mark, the music changes from sad to threatening with guitars issuing an obvious warning. In the final third of the song, there has an oddly upsetting spoken word passage joined by the cello and other discordant instruments and effects.

The closer is a short ambient drone piece, “Submerging,” which is more of an exhortation regarding things to come than it is a wind-down. Taken together these three pieces coalesce into an unforgettable cortège moving toward oblivion. Recommended.

Rip Tide will be released on Friday, June 25th by Aesthetic Death on CD, vinyl, and digital. In the US, Bandcamp is a good place to pick it up.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://sufferyourself.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/SufferYourself

Aesthetic Death, https://www.aestheticdeath.com/

Aesthetic Death Bandcamp, https://aestheticdeath.bandcamp.com/

Suffer Yourself, Rip Tide (Aesthetic Death 2021)

Pando, Rites (Aesthetic Death 2021)

Experimental metal duo Pando come back with another layered and complex experience for the initiated and the adventurous.

The band is Adam R. Bryant and Matthew Gagne. The music could be called experimental and/or drone and/or Black Metal and a lot of other things, too. The compositions include sounds, noises, dialogue, chants, guitars, clean vocals and craggy ones, percussion, captures, and expressions.

The set starts with what sounds like an LP of Gregorian Chants being played. A narrative track joins – a man speaking. This goes on for three full minutes, and then the savage voice breaks in and the mood turns from weird to sinister. This new reality goes on for a tight three, then new chanting begins, urgent against a tortured guitar and hopeless choir: “agapē” is the song. With that for an opener you figure anything could come next, all of it equally likely. What you actually get is difficult to put into an closing container.

The music has the feeling of ritual to it, and Rites is the therefore the perfect title for the album. You can get into a state listening to this, an altered state. The second piece is short, “dadaism,” and it will absolutely rattle your nerves with its piercing and pounding. Some tracks sound very much like a traditionally-formed songs, as in “total station theodolite,” which could live comfortably elsewhere. But others like “in god we trust with our cold dead hands” are something that could only really have a home on an album like this one.

Rites makes the most sense to me as an experience. I wouldn’t try to conceive of the separate tracks as individual entities even though many of them work well that way. Take it in all at once, altogether, and see what that does to you. Recommended.

The album is out tomorrow, Friday March 26th. Links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://thetremblinggiant.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/heaviestorganism/

Label, https://www.aestheticdeath.com/

Pando, Rites (Aesthetic Death 2021)