Review Summary: Dwelling in the lightless depths.
Aldebaran - Embracing The Lightless Depths
Putting aside just how well-crafted this album is, in the near five year span between albums, Portland doom-heads Aldebaran have been relatively quiet for the most part (aside from an over twenty minute “EP” in Buried Beneath Aeons
, but still…). 07’s Dwellers In Twilight
was a crash course on how to put the common man into a doom-induced coma; crushing both soul and ears in the process. An excellently crafted album that explored the territories of funeral doom, with an added flavor of sludge and just the correct dash of hardcore to make for one of the more memorable albums of that year (or the past several after that, for that matter). Now, five years later, we finally get a new full length in the form of Embracing The Lightless Depths
, and on, my god, what a treasure it is to hear, again, just why these guys ruled so much in the first place.
Differences from their debut abound within the first couple minutes of this already daunting album. Fully abandoning any semblances or similarities to sludge and instead opting for a straight-up funeral doom sound, Embracing The Lightless Depths
features two epochs in the form of “Forever In The Dream Of Death” and “Sentinel Of A Sunless Abyss”, aired out between the three instrumental “Occultation” suites. Like breaths of respite before the eternal plunges, the “Occultation” suites are formidable on their own, with “Ocular Tauri” going over six minutes in length. They merely serve as post-rock interludes between the massive two songs of “Forever” (at almost twenty-five minutes) and “Sentinel” (at almost thirty minutes in length).
What Embracing The Lightless Depths
does that makes it such a stellar album is not Aldebaran's ability to keep the listeners attention for the full listen (which they do), but in the subtle nuances filled within the negative space between riffs. Featuring a new guitarist, Aldebaran let each song flow naturally, giving each song all the time in the world (almost literally) with harmonies and slow-burning solos abounding throughout the album, particularly in “Forever”. The interplay between the two guitarists of Aldebaran, locked together by an absolute on-key rhythm section, helps make Embracing The Lightless Depths
one of the more engaging funeral doom albums out there: album that can make even the most causal of fans (like myself) appreciate what is being played, and possessing a full attentive ear while doing so.
So while some of the elements that made Aldebaran somewhat of a “unique” sounding band have dissipated, they have had plenty of time to iron out any redundancy that would plague any lesser band. With five years and a “practice” EP between their two LPs, Embracing The Lightless Depths
isn’t entirely gimmick-free as it is an impressive feat of solid funeral doom to contemplate and meditate ones soul to.