Review Summary: begone with the ebb.
Perceiving our world in fathomable measurements is a cornerstone of human perception. Moreover, the ability to measure the world around us is what has allowed our progress as a species to move as quickly as it has over the course of millennia. Dividing large things into smaller increments and conversely compounding innumerably small elements to a scale reasonably understood by our consciousness has afforded the human spirit the liberties of innovations in everything from agriculture to architecture. Nonetheless, however stellar our attempts at reigning in the vastness of the universe into the spheres of our understanding, some things will simply always be too big to be truly fathomable. You needn't venture to the into the cosmos to realize this either - wading into the waters of our own oceans is more than enough.
Oceans are insanely big. Sure, it's obvious enough when you think about it, but when you hear that the world's high seas hold over 352 quintillion gallons of water our capacity of understanding scale simply crumples in the shadow of such colossal numbers. Being such a vast and stoic expanse of our world that will surely never be conquered by the sheer will of man, the seas are a place of archetypal mythos and truly exist as a cosm well beyond our abilities to understand. This is where Belgium's one man funeral doom project known simply as Slow enters the fold.
Aptly titled V - Oceans
, the project's fifth album comes about as close to capturing the unimaginable depths of the abyss as the human imagination possibly can. That massive blue swath that has captured our collective imaginations since forever is certainly bigger than you or me, and it's doubtlessly more patient too. With this in mind, Slow has succeeded in anchoring us to the deepest parts of our planet's aquamarine biosphere with an hour of brooding funeral doom that conjures stark panoramas of dimly lit seascapes and the slow undulations of rolling swells. Indeed, this vast world beyond the safegaurd of our shorelines has held terra firma's lower seventy-five percent under the weight of its gargantuan gravity for billions of years, and such a thing is no small feat. Slow portrays this unwavering stillness of the ocean with breathtaking developments that slowly crawl across the mind as if the they were a great Blue Whale swimming through the aquamarine veil of a distant view. Much of V - Oceans'
success in this regard lies in a masterful production value that gives way to a stunning aquatic landscape resplendently adorned with the gradient pierce of sunlight far above the trenches of the ocean floor. Not much happens at these depths, even as you saunter through its majestic desolations. Those rolling hills give way to empty blue valleys that descend into forever, and only the faintest traces of familiar life forms make their appearances as you explore the awe inspiring expanses before you. The crushing weight of the sea keeps progress and evolution's march onward moving at a snail's pace down here as guitars and choral keys move in unison with a naturalness paralleled only by mother nature herself, and that collective journey towards destinations unknown reveals itself only to the stillest of ears. Nothing is forced, but much spoken by the voice of patience as the gradual developments become meditative exercises in reverence for the present moment before ascending towards epic storms raging on the surface above. By giving us so little to hold on to out here, Slow has give us a place to admire an intense and melancholy solitude as we gaze upon waning pillars of sunlight reaching down towards the blackness of the abyss. Here we find ourselves adrift in the solemn embrace of eternal twilight.
”Drawn towards the nothing, one we shall become
These dark seas now feel almost comfortable, I give in
May this darkness absorb me”
Its a test of will in many ways, as V – Oceans
moves at a pace that holds little regard for the frivolousness of weak attention spans. This is a funeral doom record after all, and the power of its emotive gestures contained within hold the true keys to its bounty. Slow simply does so many things right in regard to painting the daunting scale and majesty of the seven seas that one can hardly fault the music for disregarding our own desire for instant gratification. The graceful portraitures of horizonless views give us so much more than that, and the crushingly heavy climaxes and reprieves alike hold many wonderful nuances and hidden flourishes of melody that deepen its sense of reverence and measureless pulchritude. Take “Déluge” for example, and hear how it explodes as tidal waves of breathtaking splendor rise from the ebbing undertows with a herculean politesse. Even the opening track “Aurore” boasts a hair-raising crescendo that rivals the finest cinematic zeniths the genre has ever offered, and through the five epic tracks Slow has given us, there’s not a single moment of restless wanderlust.
is an album speaks volumes with astounding conviction. Effortlessly dynamic thanks to mature and thoughtful compositions, these devastatingly captivating movements rich with blue and grey hues hold your imagination – but more importantly your heart – with a suffocating strength comparable only to the power of Poseidon’s realms themselves. What we have here will surely be the heaviest thing to come out of 2017 both in terms of sheer mass and the astounding emotional momentum it carries, and in all actuality it may very well go down as one of the best funeral doom albums of the decade. Drowning in the colossal waves of the sea has never been so breathtakingly majestic.