Aequorea
Dim


5.0
classic

Review

by Gary Grump CONTRIBUTOR (49 Reviews)
January 25th, 2022 | 67 replies


Release Date: 01/07/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Aiming for perfection.

Californian post-metal. Three words when put together causes some neuron activation in many people. Many famous post-metal bands like Neurosis, Isis, Deafheaven, Intronaut etc. originate from this region, standing in quite the center of the whole “movement”. Of course there is the underground, where many other excellent bands exist along the same line. Æquorea is one of these hidden gems which are just waiting to be discovered.

Perhaps Nevada City’s Æquorea isn’t the most productive band, however their self-released debut LP from 2014 must have been an interesting find back then. Tellurian was an exciting post-doom release with hints of sludge elements and noteworthy creativity, so overall a very impressive work. But still, I think they couldn’t show their full potential yet. No, it had to wait. Eight years have passed and then came the band’s second craft, now under the wings of Transylvanian Recordings, and it turned out to be a magnificent piece of art.

I think one of the first things that the listener can realize by listening to Dim, is how well-balanced, and diverse sounding the album is: which is especially noteworthy, since the album contains “only” four lengthier songs. Individually, they are both fantastic and interesting, so let’s have a look at them separately.

The album’s longest composition, “Mirrors”, starts with a hypnotic, slowly flowing Easternish and very soporific melody (very much like Al Cisneros’ groovy and peculiar style on any Om record - even the dominant bass line stands as a resemblance). Soon after the second minute, the song takes a drastic turn, where the presented theme morphs into metal by use of enormous riffs and excellently executed black metal vocals (Black Anvil vibes through the whole album). Reaching the middle of the song, the groove takes the lead and guides the listener to heavier depths. Interesting to notice how “Mirrors” is built from several “layers”, but the opening groove remains an integral part of it, and the instrumental work around it sheperds this track into newer and heavier directions.

Fresher sounds greet the listener in the album’s second track, ”Demon Is Man”. The song opens with a sweet melancholic melody, and slowly, and maybe unexpectedly, some gorgeous ambient-soaked shoegazing becomes part of the gently flowing melancholia. The result delivers (it did for me) the very same experience, what you can feel from the creation of Alcest, Deafheaven or God Is An Astronaut: an ethereal, dreamesque atmosphere with lots of emotions inside. But Æquorea did more than just present the re-interpretations of some dreamlike shoegaze, copying the acts mentioned above. Instead, they gently inserted their own ‘flavor’ into the song. As they steadily and wittingly build up a cathartic peak, the arriving pretty blackgazeish doom cuts deeply into the idyllic soundscape. There is some brilliance behind it, as this transition just doesn’t feel intrusive at all, contrariwise: it becomes part of it, and leads the flow of the song to a different, but eargasmic end.

The third track, ”Mara of the Holy Shadow”, is probably the album’s most straight-forward composition. It’s crushing and heavy from start to end, but it comes with a very-well portioned airiness as well. This can be seen as typical post-metal traits, as these shorter or longer interludes may allow the listener to take a breath between the monumental and immersive post-doom riffages. This is where I’d like to drop my praise for how fantastic the synergy and the dynamism between every instrument and the vocals is. Each component feels vivid, and gets the opportunity to carry the flow for at least a while - not to mention the especially great studiowork which makes this possible.

The album’s closer, ”Talus” feels more or less the continuation of the previous theme, but this song’s atmosphere is by far the grimmest of all. Slow and heavy, bits of dissonant chords and crushing riffs result in a fairly death-doom spirited assault, accompanied by the album’s most passionate vocal performance as well. But such bone-wrecking heaviness can be melted too, as suddenly an ambient, shoegaze section arrives, similarly to what was heard in ”Demon Is Man”. By adding this module, they managed to insert a smooth transition into the song, where through a gradually heavier transformation, they can re-visit the previously introduced riffs and by the end of the experiment, the outcome reaches a satisfying catharsis, a perfect ending for the album.

Nothing but flawless. Æquorea could spread their wings and has presented a truly amazing album. The band’s sophomore album is sometimes dynamic and aggressive, other times comfortably gentle and emotional, but all the way through stays as a soulful and expressive experience. Dim might be a hidden gem, but it’s a spectacular post-doom release that you’ll never forget and worth exploring.



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user ratings (57)
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
garas
Contributing Reviewer
January 25th 2022


7173 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Digital album and cassette tapes on Transylvanian Recordings' Bandcamp page: https://transylvaniantapes.bandcamp.com/album/aequorea-dim



I'm in love with this album.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
January 25th 2022


17108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love this record. Very glad I bombed you with this and so much more.

Sevengill
January 25th 2022


10752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

okay, you have my attention. gonna go check.

Digging: Gospel - The Loser

alkostach
January 25th 2022


264 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I'm waiting for a CD release. Don't know whether it'll happen though.

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
January 25th 2022


3802 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Woah, a well-executed track by track!



Well done garas, album is pretty sweet.

Pikazilla
January 25th 2022


22984 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This was phenomenal.

Demon of the Fall
January 25th 2022


24591 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Added this to the stinking heap, hopefully it can stop me setting the lot on fire.



cheers garas

Digging: Gospel - The Loser

garas
Contributing Reviewer
January 25th 2022


7173 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

> Very glad I bombed you with this and so much more.

And I'm very thankful for that!

> Don't know whether it'll happen though.

You can try to drop a message to the label. They are very nice and responsive!

> a well-executed track by track!

Thanks! :] I thought this format will work the best for this.



Woah, a rare Pika praise, look at that!

I hope you'll have a good time with this Demon! ;] Just 34 minutes, easy to find some time for it!

DungeonBoy
January 25th 2022


8885 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Guess I gotta add this to my reviews to read, albums to check, list

Digging: Undeath - It's Time...To Rise From the Grave

Ignimbrite
January 25th 2022


6779 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is cool

Sevengill
January 25th 2022


10752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

getting big Secrets of Sky vibes, esp the vocals. that's a good thing.

Pikazilla
January 25th 2022


22984 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

aotysf

Pho3nix
January 25th 2022


1296 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

The album cover already had me

Sevengill
January 25th 2022


10752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

look out Obsequiae, there's a new vowel bm band in town

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
January 25th 2022


17108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah I wouldn't recommend sleeping on this.

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2022


13397 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

January and we already have a 5



Well, well. If you INSIST.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2022


27975 Comments


A post metal 5 from garasbro? gotta check

Digging: Ethel Cain - Preacher's Daughter

Pikazilla
January 26th 2022


22984 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's not post-metal

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2022


13397 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Someone's getting spanked for the genre tagging.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
January 26th 2022


17108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Second 5 from the contrib/staff camps for the year. Didn't realize there was a race on.



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