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Review : Atramentus - Stygian by ThoseOnceLoyal

Via ThoseOnceLoyal : "In case you hadn’t guessed by that gloriously bleak artwork, Canada’s Atramentus are massive funeral doom and their debut record ‘Stygian’ is due out in August through 20 Buck Spin, a label known for their high quality releases. Three tracks, forty five minutes and the story of an immortal knight left to witness the death of the sun and the endless frozen purgatory of a dead earth. Cheery stuff.

The first thing you noticed about ‘Stygian I: From Tumultuous Heavens… (Descended Forth the Ceaseless Darkness)’ is the overwhelming sense of dread permeating through each sobbing riff, each tortured growl. Each riff, crashing down like a collapsing ice wall, is earth shaking, while an organ strikes with extra poignancy in the background. This doesn’t feel like a song, it feels like the pure emotion of pain encapsulated by instruments. As funeral doom as this may be, the deep influence of black metal cannot be missed, from the dark ambience and cold whispering to the savage bleakness.’Stygian II: In Ageless Slumber (As I Dream in the Doleful Embrace of the Howling Black Winds)’ is the ghostly centrepiece, a deeply menacing ambient piece that is wreathed in the miasmic smoke of black metal atmospherics.

It bleeds into the last track, ‘Stygian III: Perennial Voyage (Across the Perpetual Planes of Crying Frost & Steel-Eroding Blizzards)’, which feels like the greatest of atmospheric black metal bands slowed down to a painful crawl. The sound is vast, a whole world of misery under a pale grey sky, battered with howling guitar and vocals that sound like the voice of utter hopeless death. Six minutes in, a clean vocal like the voice of God looms into position accompanied by sorrowful piano, as if there is indeed a shard of light at the end of this journey. Slowly snuffed out by guttural roars and a howling solo, like drowning in air, this mighty track is one of the most harrowing pieces of music I’ve been gifted this year. There’s everything here; slow tortured clean guitar, guttural roars, regal orchestration, grandiose moments of sheer beauty and doses of utter despair.

Shudder-inducingly cold, imbued with emotional heft and a sense of loneliness and loss that I honestly felt it was difficult to capture this well, ‘Stygian’ makes you feel like this lost and immortal knight, bound to a dead planet forever. ‘Stygian’ is deeply affecting, and an album that I will never be able to forget. Do I have a new album of the year? Maybe, and the race is now closer than I ever thought possible. This is magnificent. " Originally written by Sandre The Giant for

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