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Towards Darkness : Barren

Go Towards Darkness and get a fix of some drifting vast Funereal Doom.

Being, in one guise or another, for over ten years, 2012 brings forth the third album from the Canucks - Towards Darkness. Albeit this is the second offering under that moniker and now finding themselves signed to Italian label Avantgarde Music.
With such an uninspired band name, one might expect ’Barren’ to exist within similar parameters of mundanity...

Whilst ’Solemn’ in 2007 felt more instantaneous, ’Barren’ has more subtleties to drag you in. The music of Towards Darkness has a vastness about it, as if one were standing on the edge of a precipice, waiting to be consumed by the depths. Every note lingers – dark and sinister, yet beautiful, wrapping itself around you. Moving from lumbering comatose heavy riffs to discordant guitar plucking – the overall feel is very smooth at times, almost ambient. It’s at these times the album does indeed seem Barren. There are noises and ideas that appear, they are explored and expanded upon and become layered within the texture of each song, increasing to a noisy and cohesive crescendo. The vocals are growled, but not strictly in the Funeral Doom sense, they have a raspy Sludge feel to them. The drum sound on this album is also a great improvement on their previous release.

‘Avenues Of Manipulation’ is a good example – beautiful, well crafted, unperturbed – adding and building up dimensions that create the main surge of the track. At times you feel that you are floating on a cloud, enveloped by an opiate drift, headed doomwards. A plethora of disrupt and disquiet then disturb the journey – and you’re back on barren earth. A feeling Esoteric conjure so well, the textured layers leading towards an expectant mass of anticipation, and I’m waiting for the big hit.....although this doesn’t always arrive and the moment is temporarily lost…. but when it does arrive, it is quite orgasmic.

We move further into the album and the ponderous plodding of Winter (perhaps the band, perhaps the season), overladen with samples and electro noises, and as the album tails off there are moments of Funeral Doom Lounge Core kicking off around me.
Whilst listening I am oft taken to the Finnish lands, getting hints of Unholy, Thergothon, Colosseum and, as is the will of the Finns, there is a non-conformist edge that shines throughout the tracks of Barren. It is innovative and explorative Extreme Doom, with the cosmic vastness that the likes of Until Death Overtakes Me have made their own.

This album is introspective, well-considered and well crafted. Some great ideas that, on the whole, work – a slow burner that nearly hits the mark, and which will give great pleasure if allowed to envelope. At its worst this album is good – and through its best moments I find myself in the Extreme Doom version of the “milk bar” (from A Clockwork Orange), getting a fix of some drifting vast Funereal Doom.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
The Arrival (09:39)
Avenues Of Manipulation (16:31)
Holy…Dying…Lifting (10:52)
Awakening (18:33)

Duration : Approx. 55 minutes

Visit the Towards Darkness bandpage.

Reviewed on 2012-03-28 by The Caveman
Rotten Copper
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