PICK OF THE WEEK: Soothsayer’s atmosphere-filled doom metal travels on ‘At This Great Depth’

soothsayerWe’ve taken a lot of spacious, atmospheric adventures this year in metal, and that’s been one of the saving graces of what’s been an awful year. I didn’t purposely set out to mention 2016 sucking in every review this week, but it just worked out that way. Anyway, here in the final weeks of the year, another trip into the stratosphere is very welcome.

You’ll have to wait until the very last day of this year to get a copy in your hands, but Irish doom band Soothsayer (not to be confused with the band of the same name from Pittsburgh) is unleashing their second overall recording “At This Great Depth,” out on Transcending Obscurity. While it’s considered a full record, the effort contains two songs that last about 25 minutes combined, but, make no mistake, this is a massive effort, as substantive and satisfying as a record twice its length. This is the follow-up to last year’s “The Soothsayer,” a three-track effort that ran about 37 minutes, so they now have a little over an hour of material with which to overwhelm you.

soothsayer-coverSoothsayer came to form in the closing days of 2013, rising from the rubble of doom band Íweriú. The group looked to continue their dark, bleak path into the future under this new banner, bonding with members of now-defunct melodic death metal band Days of Night. The band—vocalist Liam Hughes, guitarists Marc O’Grady and Con Doyle, bassist Steve Quinn, and drummer Will Fahey—certainly continued to blacken their ways, which is clear from their first release. But over time, they’ve also added dreamier, more oxygen-infused elements into their music, making them equally brutal and mind enhancing. Their music can bash your senses, but it also can help you float away with them and see the carnage in some sort of out-of-body manner.

Opener “Umpire” is the longest track at 16 minutes, and it washes in on weird noises, faded-out guitars, and a desolate gasp into space. The melodies bleed and fold onto each other, as eeriness spreads, and odd voices call out from the distance. The song begins to stretch itself pretty far, and then it snaps, with the heaviness unloading, and cavernous growls leaving craters. The track pounds heavily and toys with the emotions, sometimes giving you a boost in airy, yet cosmic terrain, and at others burying you into the soil. As the track travels on, the cut continues bursting, with wild yells bellowing, intergalactic doom weighing down on you, and the melodies bleeding away. “Of Locusts and Moths” is the closer, getting off to a solemn start, as chants and whispered words form a vortex. The ambiance gets morbid and chilling, with the pace hitting a higher gear, stomping and kicking as a variety of colors mix into the background. The vocals wrench while guitars gaze hard, and then things turn ugly and death-ridden. Yes, there remains a sense of melody, but all of that is engulfed by total darkness and a destructive final stretch that brings the record to a sudden end.

Soothsayer still are operating deep on an underground level, and that’s fine for now. If they keep coming up with records as strong as “At This Great Depth,” it won’t be long until more ears are tuned into their spacious, yet devastating brand of doom. Their run the past year has helped strengthen their core, and as this effort proves, Soothsayer have a lot to give the metal world and are more than willing to take us all on one last adventure in 2016.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/soothsayerdoom

To buy the album, go here: http://tometal.com/store/

For more on the label, go here: http://tometal.com/

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