Slow – VI – Dantalion (Review)

Slow - VI - DantalionSlow is a funeral doom band from Belgium and this is their sixth album.

2017’s V – Oceans was a monolithic slab of atmospheric funeral doom that I really, really enjoyed. Brought to us by the artist behind bands such as We All Die (Laughing), COAG, Merda Mundi, Cult of Erinyes, and many others, Slow has now been expanded to a duo, which seems to have inspired them to produce an absolute monster of an album – here they give us 78 minutes of content to become transfixed by.

VI – Dantalion is utterly absorbing and hypnotic, and is physically and emotionally crushing in a way that most funeral doom can only aspire to be. This band have talent, which only seems to have been improved by the incorporation of another member, rather than being diluted.

Highly atmospheric and immersive, Slow live up to their name by producing funeral doom that crawls its way through the lengthy playing time, unhurried and full of despondent confidence. The music is heavy in more ways than one; the rich guitars drown you in waves of distortion, the keyboards swamp you with layers of woe, and the guttural growls beat you into submission. The way that the keyboards and guitars work together is delectable, and when combined with the rest of the instruments and packaged together with the sort of songwriting skill that should see lesser bands simply giving up, VI – Dantalion is the pinnacle of Slow’s output so far.

It’s a multifaceted release, however, and definitely not just about heaviness, or even distortion. Rather, this is a work of art, carefully crafting its alluring soundscapes out of pure emotion. Well-written and structured, with a firm sense of doom-laden dynamics and atmospheric might, Slow’s latest masterpiece is exactly that. I was hoping for good things after how much I enjoyed V – Oceans, but instead I got great things.

Song six, Incendiaire, closes the funeral doom portion of the album with fiery dramatic grandeur, a stunning end to a powerful album. But wait, there’s more, as final track Elégie plays us out with 16-minutes of calm, mournful, orchestral ambience; an unexpectedly light and spacious treat.

This is a diverse funeral doom album that’s luscious and textured, providing an aural feast for doomheads everywhere. Bleak, beautiful, dark, and emotive, this is a grand work of affecting presence and awe-inspiring magnitude.

Essential.

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