Neptunian Maximalism – Solar Drone Ceremony (Review)

Neptunian Maximalism - Solar Drone CeremonyNeptunian Maximalism are a Belgian drone/doom band and this is their latest release.

Solar Drone Ceremony was recorded live over a year ago, and consists of a single 54-minute track. The piece is performed by nine people and features a range of different instruments and sounds. Apparently it’s a reworking of a song off the band’s debut EP, although having never heard the original I can’t comment on this further.

Combining drone, doom, psychedelia, and jazz into a compelling, multifaceted journey, Solar Drone Ceremony offers an immersive and absorbing experience. I always find music like this has a strong hypnotic quality, and Solar Drone Ceremony is no different in this regard; in fact, I’d say its a pretty strong example of hypnotic drone and how effective the style can be.

As you would expect, Solar Drone Ceremony is a slow-building work, one that creates mood gradually as it gathers its ritualistic energies to itself. The song seems to unfurl in a somewhat tangential manner; it explores various avenues as it unfolds, yet always moves forward to some presently unseen destination.

The music’s heart of drone is apparent and worn on the band’s collective sleeves. This is then built on by psychedelic and jazz influences, giving the music a free form feel, albeit one that’s controlled and constrained. The creative freedom of the individual band members is set just right; enough to add flourishes, character, and individual flair, but not so much as to derail the song’s flow or collective direction and holistic vision. The musical diversity and creativity is directed well in this regard, and the end result is a compelling slab of dark psychedelic drone doom.

Although not a record I’ll be constantly playing on high rotation – I find I have to be in a certain mood for drone – this is still a very strong performance piece, put together by talented hands. It’s also a better example of the style than most ostensibly similar bands manage, and it’s notable for how accomplished and compelling it is.

Drone and doom fans – make sure to check out this one.

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