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Aldebaran - "Embracing The Lightless Depths" (CD)

Aldebaran - "Embracing The Lightless Depths" CD cover image

"Embracing The Lightless Depths" track listing:

1. Occultation Of Hali's Gates (3:22)
2. Forever In The Dream Of Death (24:57)
3. Occultation Of Ocular Tauri (6:38)
4. Sentinel Of A Sunless Abyss (29:37)
5. Occultation Of Dim Carcosa (2:04)

Reviewed by on June 16, 2012

"As far as funeral doom goes, 'Embracing The Lightless Depths' is what the light-fearing mortals crave in their eardrums."

Aldebaran’s second album, “Embracing The Lightless Depths,” initially welcomes a listener into its abode with a tight hug and a wave of the hand. It shows the listener around, letting them get accustomed to the drab wallpaper and graphic paintings on the wall. Just as they start to get uncomfortable with this horror movie-like interior, a loud bang can be heard at the front door. Racing down the stairs, one is shocked to see the door handle ripped right off its hinges. They are trapped in this haunted house, at the mercy of four funeral doom maniacs from Portland, Oregon. For 65 minutes, Aldebaran holds control over the listener, until the very essence of life is drained out onto the creaking floorboards.

This album is a crypt, an airless venue of futility and stinging bile. What's even more horrific is how Aldebaran flirts with one's sense of perception. Three calming instrumentals bookend each of the massive opuses; in a sense, they provide a momentary way out from the darkness. It's like a prisoner that gets to go outside for a few hours, before the guards pry them back into their eight-by-eight cells. Aldebaran is the warden of funeral doom, and the stay feels more like 10 years instead of an hour.

"Forever in the Dream Of Death" and "Sentinel Of A Sunless Abyss” combined take up the majority of the time on the album. These behemoths are what fans of the genre expect: riffs that make slow seem fast, well-timed rhythm that echoes into nothingness, and vocals that are half deathly bellows/half haunting whispers of a dying man. These two are not for those who are afraid of songs that go longer than five minutes, as it takes a brave (or possibly insane) mind to subject themselves to Aldebaran.
 
Though their music, like drone and grind, is an acquired taste, Aldebaran is very good at what they do. The band may never get close to a mid-paced tempo, but they hold an astute listener's attention. Flirts with clean guitars and atmospheric pauses provide levity to the intense mental drilling happening around every minute of "Embracing The Lightless Depths." This album demands to be heard from top to bottom, each track blending to form one complete package of music. It's not a concept album – at least, not in the nearest sense of the word – but hearing it in its entirety is warranted.

?To say “Embracing The Lightless Depths” is enjoyable isn’t accurate, though to mark it as an “experience” would be an astute observation. Five years after their last album, “Dwellers In Twilight,” Aldebaran has returned with nothing but soul-crushing despair. As far as funeral doom goes, “Embracing The Lightless Depths” is what the light-fearing mortals crave in their eardrums. With two songs nearing 25-30 minutes, it’s not a pick-up-and-go album; only the patient and strong minded should tread the soundscapes Aldebaran has roused up on their captivating sophomore album.

Highs: Funeral doom done right, feels like a complete work of music, a few surprises that keep the songs interesting even after 20 minutes

Lows: "Occultation Of Ocular Tauri" is long-winded as a six-minute instrumental

Bottom line: Funeral doom metal that gets the atmosphere down and takes the listener on a journey marked by grim aesthetics.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)