I don’t know how many of our loyal Vault Hunters have strong musical associations with the different seasons, but I generally listen to a lot of sad black metal come autumn. There’s something about the genre’s depressive atmospheres that provides the ideal accompaniment for the falling leaves. However, man cannot live on black metal alone – believe me, I’ve tried. So thanks and praise to Achlys, the Goddess of Misery and Sadness, that there’s funeral doom for when the palate needs some cleansing.
Actually, with one-man German funeral doom project Sinister Downfall, listeners kind of get the best of both genres. Band mastermind Eugen Kohl is primarily known for his black metal bands Donarhall and Nihilisticon, and while you won’t hear any tremolo picking or blast beats on Eremozoic, there’s definitely a similarly exquisite atmosphere of gloom pervading the four lengthy tracks on the album that you’ll also find in the best depressive black metal.
For example, consider “Where Solitude Prevails,” which we’re…um…sad, but in a good way, to be premiering here today at the Vault. The repeating clean guitar figure and forlorn piano that carry much of the song wouldn’t sound out of place in a Totalselfhatred or Make A Change…Kill Yourself song. When the distorted guitars and vocals come in, though, it definitely has more in common with a band like Bell Witch or Shape of Despair. What makes the music so successful, though, is the way Kohl writes in layers – instead of building outward with a succession of riffs, he rides a single progression for nearly ten minutes on the track, adding and taking away elements depending on the mood he’s trying to create. As a result, the arrangement never drags and the song doesn’t feel anywhere close to its just-under 12 minute run time.
One more thing: the title Eremozoic comes from the work of biologist E.O. Wilson, who coined it as a suitable name for the upcoming fourth era in the Earth’s development, following the Paleozoic (ancient life), Mesozoic (middle life) and Cenozoic (new life) eras. Since most biologists agree that we’re currently in the midsts of a sixth mass extinction, due almost exclusively to the habits of homo sapiens, Wilson suggested calling the fourth era the Eremozoic, or ‘lonely life.’
Now if that’s not fucking depressing, then I don’t know what is…
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