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Reliably Murky Genre-Mix - 70%

Apteronotus, January 8th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2015, Digital, Independent

Chronovorus’ To Those Who Dwell in Ruin is an enjoyable, albeit brief, EP that invokes the tried-and-true atmosphere of Lovecraft. The band’s variety of black/doom metal is very much in the same vein as the mighty Predatory Light. Murky, cavernous, you know the drill. However, Chronovorus really has a much more major sounding vibe than their contemporaries, and thankfully they don’t milk it to the point of being a gimmick.

In this sense, the music tends to break away from the usual moods associated with the style and forges its own unique atmosphere. The obvious meaning behind the band’s name and imagery of Jupiter's sulfurous moon Io; these things doesn’t exactly scream Lovecraft stereotypes, but they still work. Chronovorus’ musical identity follows their aesthetics, a slightly different angle on familiar themes.

Mixing black and doom metal isn’t always easy though, and Chronovorus get tripped up by their own overwhelming sense of doomy languor. This is a bit of a problem because parts of the music sometimes lose black metal’s atmosphere. Take “A Star Oath” for example. It starts the EP off slow. Really. Really. Slow. The EP also closes out with the same exact problem. Given that the first and third track are ambient pieces, this doesn’t leave much meat (a third of the play time is ambient). However, they aren’t exactly filler track because the rumbling vocals and damp noises immerse you in the band’s imagery, making you feel like you are overhearing a subterranean demonic conversation.

Despite the sizable amount of ambiance and the boringly slow sections, the EP still feels too short. This is a testament to the strength and identity of the rest of the material. Soaring high melodies on the guitar, lush even bass, and impressively sustained echoey vocal rasps help to temporarily raise the mix out of the muck. In the moments like these, the EP really hits its stride, and these aspects of Chronovorus’ sound ought to be further developed. To Those Who Dwell in Ruin is best when it manages to distinguish itself without sacrificing the core strengths of black or doom metal.

Originally written for Contaminated Tones.