The first track The Doors starts off with a slow, ominous progression of droning guitars low in the mix with keys and melodies layered on top. The dissonance carries the song until the vocals come in. A low, resonant guttural passage forms the verse, whispers poking through in the background as the clean vocals take over. On first impressions, the pace of this song is more along the lines of a doom-laden funeral procession throughout the entire track, with the vocals acting to uplift the entire track. There are some tasteful drum fills in there and the guitars begin to experiment with shrill leads tremolo picked over the top before fading out into a Gregorian chant style vocal passage.
The second track, Aura, begins with intricately played steel string guitar and more of the higher, airy leads layered over the top to give the song an ethereal resonance. The build-up in this song is superb, and when the drums and heavier guitars begin, chills ran up my spine. The progression could be comparable to Blackwater Park era Opeth as far as how well executed it is. This song is a beautifully acted out story piece, with aggressive vocals lacing the melodies with acid as they cut through the underlying heaviness of the song. There are various points where the drums take a solid, rhythmic hold, and the guitars move around more, lending itself more aligned to a comparison to My Dying Bride than anything else in some parts. The ten-minute epic of a song manages to play out without becoming stale or tiring.
Touched starts off similarly epic in nature to most of the previous song, with haunting keys and low, thunderous bass and guitars playing underneath. The middle section is a spoken word followed by more guitar leads placed to make the soundscape perfectly unsettling. This song is around the same length as its predecessor, and this may just be my love of dynamics in music talking but at this point, I got the feeling the doom elements are a bit strong for my liking and the one riff for 5 minutes thing was only now getting a bit long in the tooth. Just as I was at the point where I thought I could predict what the song after would sound like though, Doomed surprised me with a soft percussive intro with piano and subtle guitar licks interwoven together in an enchanting build up.
Reason starts off on another beautifully melodic note, mixing choral arrangements with long, sustained harmonies. About two minutes into this song, the vocals and full band come in. The cleans in this track I’m not sure fit the overall vibe but if you think of a Septic Flesh or Rotting Christ style clean vocal, almost ancient and tribal in tone, it does seem fitting. I much prefer when the harsher vocals come in through, as I think the low growl lends more to the atmosphere of this song. When the leads come in at the 5-minute mark of this song, I felt as if the world was standing still and I was being consumed by the waves of sound, fully absorbed in this song as all its grace. The solo towards the end strikes a few familiar notes that were left unresolved in the intro to the song, and as it ends, it leads you back into the dreary depths of the song, the guitars drawing out their cries and the drummer beating the tom’s rhythmically as the song appears to be drowned out by the sound of a church bell’s toll. This fades seamlessly into the next track, insignificant.
By this point, I was feeling insignificant myself as this album took me on a journey that made everything else seem to not really matter. It also helps that at the time of writing this, I was in an adequately morose mood to start with, and I think this is one of those albums you want to listen to when you’re alone, by the fire and have plenty of time to ponder the insignificance of your own existence. The next song begins with more well-placed melodies and the low end that has instilled sadness into the music since the first track. The higher notes that poke through the haze of guitars sent chills up my spine and the guitar lead work in this song as well composed as the previous track. The drums signal the intro is over and the guitars begin moving around at a slightly faster pace, slowly turning into a solid beat that makes you a bit too aware of your own heartbeat for comfort and the guitars tremolo over the top of the keys, giving this song the epic build up it deserves before bringing back elements of the intro, woven seamlessly back into the song to the point you hardly notice the ebbs and flows of the song, it happens so naturally. The last half of this song is more along the lines of melodic/post black metal mixed with doom, the drums pick up pace and the passages are closer together, the guitars more constant. I’d say this is one of my favourite tracks from the album due to mood and emotion alone.
Layers is a soft, atmospheric track that follows the sombre epic Insignificant, blending out into post metal vibes before it fades out.
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