Descend into Despair – Opium (Review)

Descend into Despair - OpiumDescend into Despair are a Romanian doom metal band, and this is their third album.

I like Descend into Despair very much. Both 2014’s The Bearer of All Storms and 2017’s Synaptic Veil scratched that funeral doom itch quite nicely. With a duration of 60 minutes that’s divided into just three tracks, Opium is a colossal slab of doom. As becomes quickly apparent, this is an album of considerable worth, one that demonstrates that the band have moved to the next level in no uncertain terms.

This is an ambitious work, mixing together funeral doom, sludge, progressive metal, dark ambient, and electronica into an avant-garde doom metal concoction of significant potency. The album features a range of additional instrumentation, sounds, and guests, and it’s obvious that a lot of care, attention, and love has gone into the creation of Opium. The songwriting is well-developed and the mammoth songs are constructed with thought to dynamics, emotive content, and atmospheric impact.

These songs are creative and imaginative, while still retaining a funeral doom base that allows the band to stay true to their core mission statement. The music is largely slow and considered, using both heaviness and lightness to express itself proficiently. Augmented and enhanced by emotive synths and other electronic/choral/etc. sounds, it’s a heavily atmospheric and immersive listen, as well as a surprisingly varied one.

Richly textured, filled with nuance, and powerfully evocative, Opium is a rare treat for fans of atmospheric funeral doom. It’s clear that Descend into Despair like to push themselves, and Opium is their boldest, most accomplished work to date.

Essential listening for doom metal fans everywhere.

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