If there’s one genre within the doom metal spectrum that keeps me wanting to dive deeper into the brilliant musical soundscapes and atmosphere, it would be funeral doom netal. For those who don’t know what funeral doom metal is, funeral doom metal is a crossover subgenre between death metal and doom metal which is very well known for having its slow, depressive, and moody signatures that makes any metalhead feel lost and desperate. But not many funeral doom metal releases that struck with me in 2020 but this time, we have Canada’s Atramentus and their debut full-length released from the almighty label of 20 Buck Spin. This project was formed in 2012 by the talented musician himself Philippe Tougas which you may best recognize his works with Chthe’ilist, Cosmic Atrophy, First Fragment, Eternity’s End and Funebrarum and had the absolute honor to interview him on Metal Purgatory Media last year. Atramentus’ musical style is reminiscence from the US and Finnish bands ranging anywhere from Thergothon, Shape Of Despair, Catacombs, Evoken and the legendary Skepticism but Atramentus reflects on different lyrical content from anxiety, darkness, dread, despair and extinction well as bits and pieces of Elder Gods. With only three tracks and clocking in 44 minutes in length, prepare to strap yourselves to a world full of desolation, isolation, depression and having shivers down your cold spine because this is without question, one of the absolute best pieces of funeral doom metal I’ve ever heard since Bell Witch’s Mirror Reaper and Ahab’s The Call Of The Wretched Sea.
Musically, lyrically, atmospherically and progressively speaking, Stygian features super slow guitar melodies, depraved vocals, layered keyboard programming, subtle synth work and melancholic rhythms in the instrumentation work is nothing but phenomenal. There’s some tendencies within the album’s production but it keeps the sound very well sculptured due to the ambient and drone-esque compositions the album is building upon but kept the narrative, storytelling and flow within the incredible and sensational work of the instrumentals backing up the musical experience is extremely impressive. Even looking at the album artwork speaking for itself possesses beauty, art and nature which let alone tested the description, dedication and admiration these musicians have created potray a story that’s deep, emotive and went onto molding such a breath of fresh air for the funeral doom metal community. Stygian not only captured and captivated a genre that’s diverse to follow in the footsteps of Thergothon, Disembowelment and Evoken well as other musical acts, but have created a modern day masterpiece which potray the most mournful, abandoned, soaring and imprisoned style albums not just in 2020 but for funeral doom metal.
Overall Score: 9.5/10
Review by Jake Butler