Finnish Doom has a habit of eliciting serious emotion, whether it be down to the plaintive melodies and atmospheres or the downright trudging pace. Arche have all of these characteristics in spades and, on this label reissue of their début EP Undercurrents (Third-I Rex), their heartbreaking Funeral dirge is presented to devastating effect.
Occasionally implosive, often brittle, the guitar work of opener ‘Plains of Lethe’ has acoustic and melancholic moments, the lead melodies slow, meaningful and occasionally evoking the wistful pattern of Swallow The Sun and Saturnus. The only voice here, however, is that of Profetus guitarist Eppe Kuismin, and it begins as a barely audible, whispered growl before its guttural roar introduces the final third in terrifying, solitary fashion. It’s here that the crushing weight of huge yet emotive riffs add a mighty chapter, despite the billowing atmospherics and subtle yet striking keys.
Those airs swirl around the depressive tumult of ‘Funereal Folds’, again graced by titanic riffs and reaching the edge of crescendo when that agonised, expiring roar enters the fray, yet retaining its stirring power with deliberate leadwork and wonderfully dictatorial drums. At times the monster rests, Bell Witch-like, appearing shattered and spent in its fight against fate yet unwilling to cede quietly, its power still resonating in the fulminating roar and beautiful chords. The drop to the coda is devastating, the acoustic tones tearing every heartstring asunder, and sparse yet hulking bass kicks reinforcing that Bell Witch comparison.
Quite simply this is a beautiful, staggering piece of work. Some feel that the mewling of pained leadwork has no place in a genre where to crush uncompromisingly is the aim; and in some acts it can often lose meaning. Arche, however, hit near alchemy and this morose, gorgeous, lonely behemoth deserves serious attention this time around.