'Netherwards' is the debut full length and follow up to demo, 'The Drear' from Seattle based Anhedonist. As a first album it is an impressive offering, so much so it is hard to believe that this is only their first.
Consisting of just four tracks of mesmerising doom Metal totalling forty minutes, even the most seasoned musicians would be challenged to ensure such epic length tracks were not repetitive, but these, I can assure you are far from that.
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Both the composition and musicianship are excellent. 'Netherwards' is awash with unnerving ambiance, dense sludgy guitar tones and vocals that are guttural, yet majestically haunting, lending such a rich atmosphere to the album. To that, add the combination of harrowing melodies and an overwhelmingly depressive vibe and the result is a depth of sound that is both immense and mind-blowing.
Opening with 'Saturnine', initially so quiet you need to concentrate to hear it and then the growl hits you square on... add the sludgy, chugging, depressing guitars and the combination knocks you down and drags you along, sweeping you up helplessly like leaves on the wind.
'Estrangement' has a gentle and reflective opening, hypnotic crashing of cymbals interspaced between distorted guitars before the vocals sweep in like a darkly tragic breeze, becoming tortured as the track progresses.
The shortest track (at a modest five minutes) 'Carne Liberatus' is haunting, with hypnotic guitar rhythms and deep harrowing vocals that become darker and more oppressive as the track progresses giving you the feeling that something truly dark has been let loose upon the world.
The final and longest track (at a mighty fifteen and a half minutes) 'Inherent Opprobrium' opens with clean guitars, the haunting intro with atmosphere building, simple drum beats builds gradually in intensity progressing on to distorted, sludgy, doom laden guitars along with slow, deep, growling vocals that become agonising at the nine minute mark accompanied by a simple painful repeat riff on guitar for added effect before fading out on a single note. This track is the stuff that nightmares are made of! Excellent!
This is such an atmospheric and emotional album. Just listening leaves you exhausted, but in such a good way.
'Netherwards' just evokes so many thoughts, probing into that very dark space at the back of your mind. An amazing and excellent album.
'Netherwards' is out now on Dark Decent Records.