Profetus – As All Seasons Die

profetus- album cover

As All Seasons Die (Svart)…happy eh? This Finnish five piece, housing ex- and current members of Horna and Corpsessed, don’t come across as cheerful, and indeed theirs is the most funeral of doom.

Orchestral keys at a snail’s pace accompany the sparse yet crushing riff and drums of ‘A Reverie (Midsummer’s Dying Throes)’, the flattening qualities of the bridges when everything collides together, both awe-striking and ominous, Anssi Mäkinen‘s voice a crawling, seeping growl to terrify the hardiest soul. It is tolling and metronomic with an affecting organ solo a striking, mournful interlude which lingers and carries a titanic beat and riff, that builds the drama, the emotion and the oppression, yet never changing pace. It’s impossible to convey just how staggeringly effective this is, which is remarkable when you consider that there are periods when it seems as if nothing happens.

The reverberating chant of ‘Dead Are Our Leaves of Autumn’, delivered as if from God on high, is so gentle yet resonant as to caress the mind whilst cracking you in the face. Mäkinen’s doleful tones induce paradoxical feelings of misery and euphoria whilst initially understated lead work soon becomes the centrepiece escalating to stunningly emotive levels, imitating gulls on a barren shore à la Marillion’s Steve Rothery. It is an exercise in precision and control, yet feels as organic as the Yorkshire moors – harsh, desolate, yet staggeringly beautiful.

As the life cycle ends with the tolling, effortless yet pounding closer ‘The Dire Womb of Winter’, creeping with the speed and stealth of a hunting cat, it really does echo the seasonal despair’; portentous, weighty, and shudderingly affecting despite the occasionally soporific pace. A spearing riff shoots forth at intervals to prevent sleep, and replace the weight in slow motion. Yet when the keys begin to build to the crescendo there’s the slightest quickening, a lifting of mood. A rebirth…?

The disaffected listener who craves more action, the quick hit, is already dead inside. The clue is in the description: life affirming whilst lamenting the sadness of it, this is another winner from Svart.

8.5/10.0

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PAUL QUINN

 

Psalm Zero- The Drain

 

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Psalm Zero is the last offering of the Canadian label Profound Lore Records and, once again, they hit the nail in the head (please do not forget about the amazing Artificial Brain’s Labyrinth Constellation that was also released by the label). This time around with Psalm Zero, a project that unites two great musicians and artists: Charlie Looker (Extra Life and Zs) and Andrew Hock (Castevet). Two musicians, two artists that have pushed the boundaries and delivered art of higher level. More often than we would like to admit, projects with members of known bands (if you don’t know them it’s your problem) fail because the members of those projects are afraid of facing with each-others style, influences and artistic output. Well, that doesn’t happen with Psalm Zero. With their debut full-length album The Drain, they face each other and there’s an enormous clash which makes the album such an enormous piece.

The first thing to make an impression on the listener its how the harsh vocals of Andrew Hock face the beautiful, overly dramatic – just imagine Morrissey (The Smiths) singing on and old, beautiful and huge cathedral and you will have an idea how profound, romantic and heartbreaking Hock’s vocals are – making a game of power sometimes and other times just a simple and incredible beautiful harmony like if they were meant to be together. The other thing is the all atmosphere of the record: perhaps the best description is post-punk industrialized that operates in this all spectrum of melancholy being sometimes just mournful other times just fuckin’ heavy with nothing on its mind other that pure and utterly rage. Seven songs and a record with just thirty eight minutes of running time, The Drain is an incredible and amazing introduction into their universe. There have been a lot of projects lately that are based on the 80s post-punk sonority, Psalm Zero are just one of most, if not the most, interesting projects of them all. Another pearl at the end of the ocean. Addictive and exciting.

PsalmZeroPhoto

 

8.0/10

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TIAGO MOREIRA