Atramentus – Stygian (Review)

Atramentus - StygianThis is the debut album from Atramentus, a doom metal band from Canada.

Stygian is a monster of dark funeral doom. Three tracks sprawl out over 45 minutes, promising nothing but glacial moods and barren hopelessness, and delivering. There are two colossal songs that bookend a shorter ambient piece.

The music itself is anything but barren, however, as there are a fair few different components that Atramentus use well. Stygian combines elements of funeral doom and dark ambient, with touches of epic doom and black metal. The end result is a captivating masterclass in extreme doom.

Tastefully augmented by funereal keyboards, these songs are richly textured and layered examples of the style. There’s a Gothic feel to the album in places, but this is reined in enough so that this aspect of the band’s sound never becomes too much. The music is so thoroughly atmospheric that getting lost in its cold embrace is almost not optional. These tracks drip with sorrowful melancholy and anguished torment. The slow melodies enter your brain easily, and the pervasive atmospheres surround and envelope you completely.

The death growls that you would expect in a project like this are delivered with inhuman depth and daemonic intensity. Less expected, but very welcome, are the soft clean singing that appears here and there. These are full of emotion and very well-performed. Other vocals and blackened screams also appear at select moments.

If you’re a fan of what bands such as Mournful Congregation, Esoteric, Usnea, Illimitable Dolor, Bell Witch, Slow, etc. have to offer, then you simply must check out Stygian.

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