Finally, the weekend is upon us. What better way to kick it off than with the latest installment of "Funeral Doom Friday". For those who are new to this column; each week features a new or classic album from the realm of extreme doom. Much of funeral/death doom's might comes from an oppressive emotional weight and the use of death or black metal motifs (played at a trudging pace, of course.) Pioneers like Mournful Congregation, Evoken, and Esoteric have mastered this blend of dirge and destruction. For 25 years, they have methodically built compositions that stretch for dozens of minutes all while keeping fans enthralled. Time has elapsed since the days of Thergothon and much like the world around us, the genre has evolved. Today's modern bands contort the very construct of the genre, breeding darkly refreshing new work. Their work thankfully gives this column plenty of material to share.
Enjoy this week's post and check out prior features here. Feel free to also share thoughts or suggestions for future installments in the comments section below
The fear of drowning is often misguided. It is not drowning itself that is scary. That part is quick and silent. One involuntary, uncontrollable gasp fills the lungs with water. There is no calling for help, but simply a lifeless descent into murky depths. No, the real fear lies in the moments leading up to it. The anxiety and desperation; the overall knowledge that finality is moments away. Drowning seems like such an avoidable fate and yet water is everywhere. It makes up 70% of the Earth; it accounts for 60% of our chemical composition. The sheer volume of it alone can be overwhelming and within its depths resides a world filled with some of the grandest and most mysterious creatures.
Mother Cetacean, the newest release from the resurrected Slow, details these watery nightmares through 20 minutes of shimmering funeral doom. In addition to Aureole and Tchornobog, Markov Soroka is also the brains behind Slow. His latest EP as this project comes two years after the debut full-length, Unsleep. He marries the narratives between Unsleep and Mother Cetacean. Markov spoke to the release saying, "Mother Cetacean is a not-so-abstract elaboration of a mother's grief. Bewildered in mental decay, she gains an understanding that the sea has swallowed her son. The song is a 3-part composition of her call, the cetacean [whale] that calls for their young, and the significance of the two. I won't spoil the ending, but for anyone who follows along and has listened to Unsleep, they might have an inkling of where all of them end up."
Soroka went on to say: "I will continue to write for Slow if there is anything more than I have to document from these particular characters. It is not often that I do write for it, though if the urge does appear to manifest; I find myself in a state of depression and solemnity. Like with all of my projects; when the characters leave, the project and the need to document them leaves with them. This is why Slow disbanded after the debut came out. I see now, yet not so clearly, that I am not finished with this project and can expect some more solemn hours in the future."
As for the music itself, Markov brings the narrative to life. He includes samplings of whale vocalizations and spoken word passages to emphasize the story buried in a sea of sorrow. Crystalline guitar notes dance like stones skipped across water's surface. Session drummer, W. Damiaen (Laster, Catacomben Studios), brings waves of percussion with the force to topple sailing ships. Soroka sings to despair. His guttural growl screams words that slip deeper into turmoil much like the protagonist in the cetacean's realm.
Slow's Mother Cetacean is available now through Markov's Bandcamp page, along with all of his other works. It is only available in digital formats currently, because of its independent release (though any labels reading should take notice). Stream the new EP below.