Cavernous Gate rumble in dark, shadowy devastation on ashen ‘Voices from a Fathomless Realm’

Photo by Markus Stock

It’s that time again where I associate gloomy, deadly music with the haunting and spooky times we’re about to have, and if that’s too cliched now, you’ll just have to live with it. I’m stressed out, and these openings don’t just write themselves. It also happens to be really accurate with today’s subject matter, so if darker tidings are your thing, get ready to indulge.

Oh, and if you happen to worship at the altar of the early Peaceville catalog, you’ll probably want to dig right into “Voices from a Fathomless Realm,” the debut full-length from Cavernous Gate. Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Sebastian “S.K.” Körkemeier helms the project, and you likely know him from Helrunar. Here he delves deeply into the doom/death metal combo that frosted so many hearts when it came to prominence three decades ago. It’s rich territory from which to mine, and Körkemeier does an excellent job capturing that same vibe but also adding plenty of his own personal touches. He’s also joined at times by vocalist Jenny Kalbitz, who adds her own shadowy fingerprints to this nine-track, hourlong adventure that is sure to turn your blood to oil. 

“That Night… (Intro)” has clean calls and chants, drums opening, keys chiming, and overall eeriness that works into your bones and meets up with “Old Graves Stir” that instantly throws gothy punches. Pastoral calls pave the way for growls entering and shaking cobwebs, the grime thickening even as cleaner singing enters the fray and melds with icy melodies. The fog increases as the playing trudges, the intensity picks up, and then it’s back into the shadows as elegant guitars fade out. “Through the Morass” lets guitars heat up as darker singing enters, the power stomping through mud puddles, the humidity rising. It feels like cold rain is washing over you as the music flexes its muscles, mystical drama arrives, and the playing unloads, leads soaring as the murk settles over all things. “Conjuration” starts as organs send chills, the ambiance setting up slowly and trickling over rock and ice. Growls gut as acoustics mix in and add mystery to the pummeling, speak-singing hangs in the air, and then ugliness reigns again. A synth wall stands firm, mucky riffs collect, and the final words disappear into the night.

“A World in Shade” begins with epic synth and growls going for your guts, haziness emerging and trying to claim your soul. The pace chugs as the guitar stretch their wings and soar, and then a menacing spirit attempts to take you. Choral sections wash over, strings ache, and doom horns sound their last. “Watcher of the Vast” is a quick interlude built with drums echoing, strange beings lurking, and spacey keys bringing cosmic coldness, heading into “The Artefact” the emerges amid fiery guitars. The pace is more aggressive and menacing, synth horns beckon, and then the fires set aggravate to scorch faces, growls bubbling through the cracks. The intensity finally begins to settle as Körkemeier whispers, “Now I wander between worlds,” as the dream comes to an end. “The Turning Veil” dawns with thick keys and flutes, the wondrous melody growing more present. Guitars burn as gothy doom lurks, clean calls spread, and the emotions cloud the skies, delivering soulful bloodletting. From there, the power slowly loosens its grips, Körkemeier and Kalbitz both call out, and the final embers sink into the dirt. “Skeleton Path (Outro)” ends the record with synth glow and wordless calls, reaching deep inside your body to claim a piece of your heart.

With thick moon beams pounding down, the chill in the air making your body shiver, Cavernous Gate bring an ideal musical complement to that experience as “Voices from a Fathomless Realm” lurks in your mind. Any sucker for ’90s death and doom is served generously here as this hour is a heavy, penetrating experience that drains you of your light. But it also helps you understand and align with darkness that may have made you feel shaky before but now seems more like welcome terrain.   

For more on the band, go here:

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