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.
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