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Review
Album Of The Month December 2016
Soothsayer | ‘At This Great Depth’


Even the opening sounds as though you’re dipping beneath the water line.

The way that guitar gets muffled – it’s as though you’re bobbing, just above the surface, until the time comes to plunge downward.

Yet it’s a plunge that takes at the very least five of ‘Umpire’s fifteen minutes, before the throbbing toms relieve the impatience and at their own length open the track into Metal.

Thus unfurls am immensely satisfying record of the type that isnt found too often anymore: one of contemplation into energy, atmosphere into power, redolent of everything from the modernity of Cult Of Luna and (somehow) Fen to the graceful elders of ‘Wildhoney’ and ‘Dance Of December Souls’.

For the former, read ‘Umpire’. And for the latter those other masterpieces.

I love the way ‘Umpire’ gives way from its blasting fury into a Tiamat-esque wooz, the way it lilts and drowses to into another – almost last-album Ved Buens Ende – movement of churn and digression.

It’s funny, I’ve held off reviewing this for a while in a bid to understand it better. It’s label owner has described it as some of the best atmospheric doom he’s ever heard – he would, wouldnt he? – a comment to which I’d usually suggest hearing some more.

Yet the more I listen the more I’m actually inclined to agree. It’s hardly a masterpiece, but there is so much in it, from Skepticism to ‘Lost Paradise’ and back again, that you can’t but marvel at its many, many layers not of sound but of influence.

There only is two tracks, because two brilliant long tracks are all that is needed.

‘Of Locust And Moth’ sounds inquisitive and melancholy before powering through a blast or two and that wonderful oldest Gathering-toned guitar lick, all while the wandering bass underneath talks its own distinctive narrative.

The blasts arent the most impressive bits. Nope: it’s the way they go into an absolutely grimfaced, heads down 4×4 rocker in the style of ‘Brave Murder Day’ / ‘Sounds Of Decay’ to close it all out.

Superb.

It is the sound of other days. Verdigris guitar from Blakkheim and Mackintosh, strange beauty from the Tiamat and Gathering years, modern plumb from the Luna and plenty else besides.

An absolutely momentous Irish release, vinyl required and demanded.

At This Great Depth they have in fact achieved a towering creative height.

4.7 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 14/12/16


13 Comments
  1. Listened to that one track on bandcamp, since both Wildhoney and Dance are all time faves of mine. Was very disappointed however that this band/record has nothing in common with those records other than the tempo….
    Recent experience shows that for some reason people do tend to get the influences very wrong when it comes to reviewing stuff and I always ask the question: did we listen to the same record?
    Nothing personal with the writer of course, just commenting.

  2. StoutAndAle Says:

    I loved the first record but this definitely tops it. One of the best listening experiences that I’ve had in quite a while.

    Immersed in it from start to finish.

  3. Every time people ask about the comparisons I always say it’s not JUST about the notes and the sounds you hear. Its about the feel, the mood, the intention and the aura of it all. I hear loads of both in it. What a great record. Must have spun it twenty times already.

  4. I agree, the feeling, aura or mood is THE thing that should be mentioned when talking about comparisons and influences.
    But sadly, that is what I am missing here. As stated before, the only similarity to those records is the tempo, nothing more, at least to these ears.

  5. Mon the lads! Deadly stuff, even better than the debut

  6. Took me ages to get into these guys, but loving it now, immense live too!

  7. justincredible Says:

    That is awful. Awful good!

  8. Eoin McLove Says:

    Not sure I really get the reference points here either and despite the opening riff being lifted almost note for note from Autumnal Fires (!!!) I really like the sound of this. I must listen back to the first EP as it didn’t click with me when I checked it out. I think having the vocals set further back works really well here and adds nicely to the atmosphere being built. Also, that has to be the same bassist as is working in Demeter as those wandering basslines are fairly similar. I think they work really well in this context. Impressive all round.

  9. That was wrecking my fucking head!!! I new i had heard that riff somewhere before, and yes its atumnal fires. A bit brazen or a tip of the hat.??

  10. TotalFuneral Says:

    I think they’ve maybe more in common with the likes of Inter Arma than the other bands listed. Enoyable all the same.

  11. Noticing some For Funerals to Come/BMD era Katatonia in there vibe wise. First listen to it and it’s pretty decent gear if a little outside my general realm of music. Great to see another band from this rain sodden isle raise the bar some more.

  12. I find it quite addictive. Cannot wait to pick up the vinyl, it’s even getting me on a bit of a 3&TM / Atrox buzz. Those thin, wiry lead guitar tones – that’s what gets me on the Dance connection.

  13. Eoin McLove Says:

    Vinyl would work well indeed.

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