without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
The first thing that hits you on opener, When Autumn Cries A Fiery Canticle, is the sound of the organ's long, drawn-out notes and the spoken word vocals of A.Makinen. The music is slow to build, with the organ dying away and revealing quiet guitars that build to more of a crescendo along with the drums. At this point, whispered, low vocals begin to fill the airwaves, complemented by the instrumentation. The sound of the twin guitars make the overall sound more powerful, only being punctuated by moments of quiet solitude and brief ringing feedback.
This is a record that requires patience from the listener. It's a slow moving beast, with subtle intricacies that reveal themselves on multiple listens. The only clue that this has a leaning towards extreme metal is in the deep, growled vocals that add a sinister feel to Profetus's sound. As the song winds on, the sound level increases, as the guitars and organ are layered more and more subtle melodies creep into the music. As the organ heralds the end of the first passage, my first impression is that this is something special.
The Watchers Dusk is more if an instrumental affair. The sound of the organ and the cymbal at times is calming, before the odd growl permeates the music and then dies again. Profetus's music follows a very prescribed formula, so to those not familiar with Doom or Funeral Doom for that matter, all the songs may sound similar, but the songs do follow a path or theme, and each have their own subtle differences and variations.
The Shoreless builds into a wall of sound from the start. It's sound grander and has more of an impact. The thing that amazes me is the incredible focus of the band to not only create such an epic body of songs for this release, but that they do so without compromising their mysterious image or influences. Profetus start to flex their muscles on this track, with some nice drum fills adding variation to the slow burn of the song.
Burn, Lanterns of Eve is the final piece of despair ravaged Doom from Profetus, and as a result, it sounds even more evil than those that have come before it. This has a strange, euphoric edge to it, like the feeling you get when you reach a point of ecstasy and for a brief moment, you reach another world. This is the first opportunity to hear some melodic, clean Doom inspired singing, which is both haunting and majestic at the same time. As a first introduction to Profetus, this record has surprised me. It held my attention throughout with great skill and bombast and it made me want to seek out and listen to similar bands. Like my new found appreciation for Black metal, this record has given me a new found appreciation for Doom and it's sub-genres.
James - http://stayahead.blogspot.com
Finland has long been the 'hotbed' for funereal doom, from seminal and often imitated 90s works like Skepticism's Stormcrowfleet or Thergothon's Stream from the Heavens to more contemporary mutations circa Shape of Despair, Wormphlegm and so forth. Entering this gauntlet of sorrows is Profetus, a younger band with a few years of history, which doesn't so much seek to refine this niche as it does to present it in a tidy, spacious and haunting environment that is admittedly effective despite its tendency to drag on. Having no real exposure to their earlier Coronation of the Black Sun, this is my first waltz with their brand of sullen lamentation, but I've come away feeling a proper enough air of snuffed illumination and gaping despair that I feel it's worth chasing down if you're fond of the stuff.
Comparatively, I'd say that Profetus follows the framework established by its countrymen in the mid-90s as far as the riffing itself. Yet the production here trades out that oblique, raw dirt of its predecessors for a cleaner, rustic aesthetic streamlined with its lyrics. Where some past funeral doom recordings have felt like they seeped at your spirit from forsaken crypts or empty castle walls, ...To Open the Passages in Dusk seems to skirt the forest canopy at dusk, or sail across the lake waters on wings of precipitous regret. The drawn out gutturals drift alongside the dirge-like majesty of the drudging chords, and the organ sounds are omnipresent, proving just as crucial to the atmosphere as any other instrument. Passages of mournful, quiet clean vocals or whispers are woven through the hour long elegy, especially the opener "When Autumn Cries a Fiery Canticle" in which we get a broad taste for the band's glorious, snail paced riffing structures which lurch along with all the grim certainty of a Sunday afternoon at the cemetery.
If I've got any serious complaint, it's the same that I could make for many albums of this type: a distinct lack of variation in the tracks which asserts that a listener really be in the mood to invest the full hour into its ineffable sadness. At several points ("The Watchers Dusk") the languid beat of the drum is sheathed to let the aura of mourning ring out into the twilight, but the mood and individual style of the guitar progressions does not differ enough that you ever feel a sense of the unexpected cropping up into the meat of the material; and when a track is passing the 17 minute mark, as in "The Shoreless", I really seek a sense of diversion somewhere in its depths. That said, the four quadrants of this sophomore are quite consistent, to the point that it's impossible to favor one over another. No bad to take with the good, or vice versa, just 58 minutes of sinking dreams and strangled hopes, all drowned in the record's commodious, depressing clarity. Tissues not included.