Review by Alex on August 23, 2020.
Comprised of members most notably within Funebrarum and Chthe'ilist, Atramentus emerges with its debut recording titled, Stygian. This record only has 3 songs, and which appear to tell a tale of some figure left to wander eternally. Their run times are very lengthy and may invoke somnambulism (the good kind) while the music itself possesses the key features and tested penchants of long-standing albums within funeral doom. The dedication behind this debut undertaking is evident and tells of the musical experience that went into molding such a phenomenal piece of material.
Stygian is bloated with the influences of prestigious bands home to the genre; Thergothon, Disembowelment and Evoken to name a few. Depressive tones, moments of sheer despair and dread are merged with a frequency of an ominous overcast. The 16-minute opener 'Stygian I: From Tumultuous Heavens… (Descended Forth the Ceaseless Darkness)' is such a great track that really sounds as though ones thoughts are being funneled through an echoing chamber. It has an overarching bleakness that immediately portrays the setting and is completed by perhaps one of the most haunting segments on Stygian being the slow, abandoned, solitary thump of the snare that fades away. It evokes feelings of both urgency and introspect, much of which translates the artwork seemingly Bell Witch inspired and is transferred to the secluded ambient skit being 'Stygian II: In Ageless Slumber (As I Dream in the Doleful Embrace off the Howling Black Winds)'.
'Stygian III: Perennial Voyage (Across the Perpetual Planes of Crying Frost & Steel-Eroding Blizzards)' continues the course by utilizing a wet, soggy, discouraged soundscape, that while dragging you to the end, manages to erect these massive towers of despondency with landscapes draped in mournful guitar tones only to demolish it by introducing the menacing waves of vocal diversity. Sometimes an utterly nasty subterranean dwelling stretched out growl or a leeching lamenting snarl is instituted that in return amplifies the general tonality while enlivening, breathing motion into the artwork. Just the feeling of absent tranquility contrasted by growing pessimism ripples through Stygian; from the oscillation of feelings incited through the gnawing torrent of sharp, wailing guitar chords and vocal grief also in sung passages, to the downcast bass, drums + growls, to the atmospheric black metal outburst bidding farewell on 'Stygian III: Perennial Voyage (Across the Perpetual Planes of Crying Frost & Steel-Eroding Blizzards)'; the record takes the listener to a place of repetitive thoughts imprisoned by the frozen hour hand of eternity.
Rating: 8.8 out of 10240