Catacombs In the Depths of R’Lyeh

[Moribund; 2006]

Styles: doom metal
Others: Bunkur, Hyatari, Nadja, Boris

Back in the year 2000, I was sitting in front of my computer, basking in digital media, and wondering, "Will the 2Ks have a character of their own?" The passage of time is very strange and fragmented, but when we have a moment to breathe, a moment for hindsight, trends and shifts in culture start to fall into place. In 2000, I couldn't imagine the hodge podge that we call modern music being crystallized in any manageable way, shape, or form. Then I started listening to Doom Metal. The origins of the genre go way back, but its crystallization, I feel, is very modern. In the Depths of R'Lyeh is the best example of modern Doom Metal you're likely to find. It contains the bare essentials, a singular idea developed and presented beautifully and simplistically over the course of an hour.

The extraordinarily downtuned guitars chug in slow motion alongside each drum hit. If sped up, the percussion might actually resemble some sort of cock rock back beat, but at such a meandering pace, each snare, kick, and crash stand alone, taking time to breathe before pounding you again and again. This is the essence of Catacombs and most Doom Metal, and it pervades the entire album. Similarly, the barking metal vocals are slowed down to the point of pure texture. They fall into the mix of instruments seamlessly, acting almost as another more organic and wretched guitar tone. Hints of melody pop in and out, adding a certain melancholy to the already tortured, slow motion doom of the backing instruments. No, there is hardly any variation. But the lack of dynamism only highlights a borrowed minimalistic aesthetic. Through repetition, a sort of meditative musical state is reached. Or at least it feels like that was the intent.

In the Depths of R'Lyeh is mood music. It typifies a genre that will be remembered for creating a unique vision from a plethora of preceding styles. It's ambient; you could get lost in it completely if you turn the lights off. It is minimal, but aurally dense and endlessly bone-crushing. I say, endlessly awesome. Listen to this one and be proud to live in the 2Ks.

Most Read