The debut album from Italian blackened death-doom band Aphotic is a mesmerizing trip into the unexplored, Abyssgazer.
Aphotic is a new band, coming together in 2020 when like-minded musicians from existing heavy groups decided they wanted to do something a bit different. To wit, they had the “intent of constructing world-building, deeply atmospheric death metal soundtracking a philosophical and eschatological concept revolving around the expansion and ultimate fate, and death, of our universe.” That is a tall order, but after listening to the album a couple of times, I think they might have done it.
“Endzeit I” is a short lead-in piece that sets up the first main song, “Spectral Degradation,” which begins with a barrage of battering percussion meant to knock you down, followed by a midtempo death metal assault that is dark, murky, and entirely satisfying. The sound of calling disembodied voices will live in your mind ever after. “Cosmivore” is tentative at first, but not for long. Interdimensional suffering can be heard and felt as the growling vocals carry the story forward. This is a heavy, monstrous song. “Deathward And Beyond” has a tilted doom framing. It is a completely different beast.
After another interlude, the second triplet begins with the title track, “Abyssgazer,” a mystical entreaty. The swirling, swarming voices are in full force, and they menace the trudging doom. Excellent. “Horizonless” is a high-energy assault with masterful layers and sagacity, while “Depths Call Depths” is more of a soldiering rumbler, getting the job done with force and dread resolve. After a final interlude (which is the most disturbing of the three by far), the ending appears: “Chasmous.” Enchantingly gloomy, this one resonated most with me, although the entire set is excellent. This album is my first time listening to Aphotic – it is their debut, after all – and now they have my attention. Recommended.
Abyssgazer is out in all the usual formats on Friday, March 24th through Sentient Ruin Laboratories in the US, and Nuclear Winter Records in Europe. You can order your preferred format at the links below.
Sentient Ruin Laboratories, http://sentientruin.com/main
Nuclear Winter Records, https://nuclearwinterrecords.com/shop/
© Wayne Edwards