Slow’s smartly named funeral doom gets expanded treatment for devastating opus ‘V: Oceans’

For all the bizarre band names that make up the entire music world, especially the many sub-layers of metal, you wonder sometimes why more artists don’t just get to the point. It’s easier said than done, as the elaborate names often exist because just about every band name is already taken, but every now and again, simplifying things does a world of good.

Belgian one-man funeral doom monster Slow certainly didn’t aim to mince words when naming this project. The records are just that: slow as fuck. And since we’re in the realm of funeral doom, that’s exactly what those following this band need. The music created by Deha (Lore B. of Ter Ziele now is behind the lyrics and conceptual ideas, as she was able to find the right words to express what was behind the instrumental end) drubs you senselessly and pours on punishment that buries you under the weight of the world. The band’s latest opus “V: Oceans” entered the world halfway through last year, but Code 666 is bringing the vinyl release of this record, the way it really should be experienced, as well as a CD and digital version, and it’s a mammoth that retains all the might from when it first arrived. This five-track, 55-minute monster slithers and grinds you into the dirt, but there also is enough solemn melody and atmospheric darkness to keep things interesting while you wallow in pain.

All five tracks on these records are, essentially, stitched together, starting off with 10:14-long “Aurore” that begins with noise hanging in the air and the music floating. The song erupts as growls rise from hell, and from there, sorrowful guitars bubble and bleed over before we head into a pocket of serenity. The track reopens moments later, as the melodies thicken like a storm cloud, and the gorging growls push into the gates of “Ténèbres,” where calm waters are swelled by dripping keys. Creaky speaking crawls before the song splits open fully, and the growls unleash madness. Sad playing wells as cavernous growls overwhelm, emotion builds, and wrenching punishment brings the song to its end.

“Déluge” is the longest track at 13:33, and we get going with pianos bringing rays of light before the violence pushes through the earth. Growls draw blood, while atmospheric playing cools off the earth’s surface, while infernal crushing bloodies hands. Gothy drama combines with emotional heaviness, as shrieks streak, and the music rains down and floods. Dreary pain and drubbing growls meet, while the pace pummels and folds into “Néant,” which has a clean beginning, as a sense of eeriness grows and causes your flesh to chill, and moody keys combine with bludgeoning power. The vocals slither as elegant sadness drapes the picture, and a true sense of misery comes out of that and smashes together catastrophic pounding and gothic tendencies. Closer “Mort” sits in airy keyboards, as whispers roll into the scene, and then the bottom drops out. The tempo adds heavy sludge before spacey histrionics emerge, and then the skull-dragging is amplified. The vocals scorch as emotion overflows, anguished cries pelt your flesh, keys add calm, and the track bleeds off into a vortex, leaving you at the heart of mystery.

Slow’s gargantuan savagery is on full display on “V: Oceans,” a record that should have this project making an indelible impression into funeral doom’s crust. The band’s name pays off the sonic assault you’re about to endure, and that hulking crawling across the earth is enough to exert physical and mental anguish. This record’s expanded reach not only should boost their profile, but it should have those hungry for slow torture thoroughly excited.

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