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When it comes to the more extreme side of the spectrum of Doom Metal, like Death Doom and Black Doom, I always find that it can vary a lot in style. You have bands like Autopsy, Incantation and Winter and what not, which are just much more gritty, with much more emphasis on the Death Metal side of the sound, some bands double down on the extremity, with bands like Hellvetron or Hell’s Coronation sounding as if you are listening to the sound of the pits of hell being opened on the surface of the earth, but then you have some that can be much more emotive, drenched in sorrow and melancholy, like earlier My Dying Bride albums, Katatonia, Paradise Lost and what not, while still others may put much more emphasis on creating an oppressive, haunting atmosphere. It’s a style where you are sure to find something that sounds unique, and I find it to be where you’d find some of the widest range of expression when it comes to Extreme Metal. Cavernous Gate, a one man project from Germany, definitely seems to fall under the latter category with their album Voices from a Fathomless Realm.
From the very beginning, it starts with a very somber tone in the intro, seemingly evoking the atmosphere of a funeral. In the first track after that, it still has a very foreboding tone, with a fast Death Metal riff starkly contrasted by a slower drumming style, which creates a very tense juxtaposition. The vocals start off clean, with a very somber and hauntingtone, the same kind of tone you might expect from the singer of a funeral hymn- yet at the same time the clean vocals are harmonious and almost beautiful, albeit in a very ominous way. The dirty vocals on the other hand are growled, and they have an oppressive presence, yet with a hint of melancholy as well. There’s also a synth in the background in certain parts of the song that seem to add an almost dream-like effect to the song. The slow, Doomy riffs are very heavy, yet you also get some Death Metal, as previously mentioned, and you even get some Blackened chords which create a bleak and uneasy atmosphere, and even a slightly proggy riff that follows shortly after. The entire song is just drenched in atmosphere, and that’s only aided by a rather haunting sounding production, and the quieter moments in the song have a somber, yet serene quality to them. The entire first song is a little bit over 9 minutes, and as you can see, there’s a lot to unpack from just that first track alone!
So from the very beginning it’s established how much of a moody album this is. Even the solos carry this same moodiness throughout the album; they are very emotive, and seem to capture the overall feeling of each song perfectly. “Through the Morass” seems to be a little bit doomier than “Old Graves Stir”, but it still has a good bit of Death Metal in there too, and it has the synth, again just working in the background that has a sinister effect on the sound. There’s even a little bit of spaciness and otherworldliness that the synth contributes about 3/4ths of the way through, and it occasionally adds much more of a dramatic flair as well, and the range of emotion that the synth conveys to me makes this album so much more special. Oddly enough, there’s parts of the album that remind me of the Norwegian band Funeral in a way, and I get that the most probably in this track, especially about halfway through the song. And speaking of funeral doom- which funeral was known for in their early career- I wouldn’t call this album funeral doom by any means, but there is a certain dirge-like quality to the composition that I feel it shares with the style. I haven’t mentioned the bass yet- but I will say that when you know to listen for it, you do notice that the subtle thrumming can add an extra layer of oppressiveness. The music all together is just excellently composed. Like if you told me that Mozart was reincarnated into the body of a 21st century metal musician, I might be inclined to believe you if I’m being completely honest. Yet at the same time the Death Metal side of the equation can be very crushing. There’s a riff in the middle of the track “Conjuration”, which I swear, has such a gravitational pull to it, that I think it might’ve actually caused my balls to drop again, causing me to hit a second puberty. It’s easily one of my favorite riffs on the album. An album full of great riffs mind you! And it kind of seems like much of the latter half of the album leans a little bit more towards the Death Metal side, like with a “A World in Shade” and “The Artefact”. A world of shade has a very old school sounding Death Metal riff that I feel is probably one of the most aggressive riffs on the album aside from the crusher I mentioned in the middle of the previous track. In “The Artefact” there’s this one wicked sounding ascending scale riff that somehow gives me vague hints of timeghoul or gorguts or something, even though technicality isn’t necessarily the forefront of the album, and the solo in that song just sounds so devastatingly bleak, as if humanity has been defeated and all hope is lost, and those elements combined with how the synth and doomier riffs are used, I think, probably make this song the most oppressive tracks on the album.
The last track before the outro on this album I would say is almost dungeon synth throughout the first half of the track, but then the rest of it is pretty much just pure Doom Metal. I’m not sure if the guy behind this project is in a dungeon synth, or ambient project or not, but I seriously think he would make a great musician in either of those genres. Even the purely instrumental tracks, which seem to lean much more heavily on ambiance, aren’t really worth missing out on, unlike most instrumental tracks in my opinion, are and I think if you’d seriously consider checking out material from this album, you’d want to listen to the whole thing- although the tracks that make up the meat of this album are great standalone tracks, the atmosphere that the intro, the outro and the interlude give off make the whole thing worthy of your time, provided that you have an hour to kill- nothing really seems to be filler on that album, and I think that is the mark of a great album overall.
So as you can tell, I quite enjoyed this album. It’s an excellent example of Death Doom, or just any fusion of Extreme Metal and Doom Metal. It really blends the styles in a very beautifully crafted way- very well composed and very well-rounded. I’d probably have to give this album a 9.5/10 honestly. I’d strongly recommend the album, you can find the LP and CD on their Bandcamp if you want to pick up a physical copy, and if you live in Europe or just want to order straight from the label, you can order the CD from their label, Prophecy Records. So that’s all I’ve got for now, and until next time, cheers!
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