Stars Burn Stripes
Lygtens Kro, Copenhagen, DEN - 22/1
...to Open the Passages in Dusk
Written by: MST on 07/03/2013 18:11:49
In early 2012, on a rainy afternoon, I decided to listen to Ahab's "The Call Of The Wretched Sea". I had previously not been a fan of doom metal, but all of a sudden, it hit me like a colossal tidal wave of foaming wrath, and thus I was completely hooked on extreme doom metal. During the next few months, I discovered lots and lots of bands in the funeral doom, death/doom and blackened doom metal genres. I liked loads of albums and I found a few handfuls of new favorites that I now adore. But one album in particular stood out from the rest, an album that just happened to have been released a few months before I discovered it. That album was "...to Open the Passages in Dusk" by the Finnish band Profetus.
I don't know what it is about Finland that makes their doom metal so good. From the crushing, suffocating funeral doom of praised acts such as Skepticism, Thergothon, Colosseum and Tyranny to the atmospheric melancholy of Shape Of Despair and Swallow The Sun, Finland seems to be the perfect place to brew up a bleak atmosphere for doom metal. Profetus are by no means an exception. Oppressive, soul-crushing riffs played at minimum velocities accompanied by drumming that only just surpasses 10 bpm make up the foundation of the music, with extremely guttural vocals slowly uttering mournful lyrics that perfectly fit the somber music. What separates Profetus from other gloomy funeral doom bands is the use of the organ played on keyboard. It doesn't quite sound like a real church organ, but it adds immensely in conjuring up the atmosphere of complete and utter hopelessness that Profetus stand for.
Funeral doom in its purest form is not known for extreme levels of variation, but the album does progress slightly as it slowly takes the listener into the inevitable abyss. The first two songs present on "...to Open the Passages in Dusk", "When Autumn Cries a Fiery Canticle" and "The Watcher's Dusk" are built up in the same way: sections of melancholic, crushing riffs, slowly pounding drums and guttural vocals, with shorter sections interspersed between them in which the organ leads the somber mood alone with guitarist/vocalist Anssi "Vrasjarn" Mäkinen's spoken word displaying the very essence of sorrow. In the sections with guttural vocals, it's not quite possible to hear the lyrics, and that's a shame because they are utterly brilliant both in conveying the spirit of hopelessness but also in telling stories of forgotten souls and dying seasons. The second half of the album differs from the first: the spoken word vocals are left behind, and the two tracks have their own individual personalities. "The Shoreless" is a 17-minute monolith of overpowering desolation and easily a highlight of the album, while "Burn, Lanterns of Eve" functions as a light at the end of the tunnel with its melancholic, yet somehow uplifting, majestic compositions of riffing and that fantastic organ. The song builds upon itself until a guest performance by Procession's Felipe Plaza Kutzbach delivers a sense of relief, as his tormented clean vocals accompany the wailing guitars in what is nothing short of a climax.
With their second album, Profetus have marked themselves as another utterly brilliant doom metal band from Finland. Funeral doom as depressive as this is not for everyone, but for those to whom the idea of letting oneself be wholly consumed by hopelessness for an hour sounds appealing, "...to Open the Passages in Dusk" is a true masterpiece. It has accompanied me in the early morning hours for almost a year now, and I do not intend to let it go for a long, long time.
Download: When Autumn Cries a Fiery Canticle, The Shoreless
For The Fans Of: Shape Of Despair, Tyranny, Thergothon, Skepticism
Release date: 20.03.2012
Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions