May 15th, 2012
Genre: Doom Metal
Apologies for the lack of posts. To make up for it here's Aldebaran's new full length record Embracing the Lightless Depths with another piece of brilliant artwork from Alexander Brown. Thanks to Forever Cursed for getting this up so fast.
I got a glimpse of this record when I attended Rites of Darkness III where they performed "Sentinel of a Sunless Abyss", a 30 minute goliath that put me on my ass pretty fast:
This trembling mountain of funeral doom takes Aldebaran in a different direction from past records (though this arguably started with "Buried Beneath Aeons") with two 20+ minute tracks and three shorter "occultations" that buffer the two longer tracks; they fit very well as valleys of calm between the crooked spires jutting upwards that are those trudging songs (almost as depicted on the album art work). The first and last track act as an intro and outro bleeding into and out of the larger songs, calmer and cleaner to help build up to the unending onslaught of terrifyingly heavy doom riffs. Occultaion of Hali's Gates is a soft, melodic guitar-only track that eventually is overtaken by creeping distorted riffs before draining into "Forever In The Dream of Death".
Now this track and Sentinel of a Sunless Abyss are the meat of the album, both following a similar devastating formula of building melody and slinking bass which is slowly enveloped by powerful waves of deliberate, ground splitting doom rhythms and chasmic, husky growls. Both feel like a journey across a desolate burned-out desert: the pace is slow, like dragging an oil tanker through said desert.
It could be said that it meanders at times. There is a clear direction no doubt but the pacing makes it feel like you've lost sight of it in some moments. It's not boring however, as the constant shadowy melody hidden within keeps things comfortable and painfully melancholic all at once while the songs sway and groove, climbing high and sinking to depressing lows — both guitars harmonized (sometimes one is clean while the other shudders with fuzz) while the drumming tumbles beside them at the same pace. They get quiet in some spots with whispered vocals before kicking into the grooves once more, and in "Forever in the Dream of Death" has one section where the kickers pick up a little.
My favorite of the two is "Sentinel..." as its structure grabs me far more tightly and I never feel lost. I was immediately spellbound by it when I heard it live and on the album it is no different. It's fucking huge and dark, with some extremely catchy riffs that will force you to rock back and forth. The clean section right at 12 minutes in and the following crushing leads are so satisfying, and it slows down near the end to an aching pace to heighten that atmosphere of hopelessness; definitely my favorite moment of this record.
Between these two tracks is "Occultation of Ocular Tauri", a 6 minute interlude which crosses from Forever... and into Sentinel. It's dark and dreary with gloomy cleans, great bass lines. Definitely hypnotic and a perfect lead in to Sentinal. Once "Sentinel..." fades with a clean chord the final and very short "Occultation" leads us to the end with that same echoing shine we heard in the first track — as the buzz of the second guitar creeps back in in the final moments.
High caliber, oppressive and quaking doom that I highly recommend you guys check out. You can snag a copy of this album over at Profound Lore's online shop.