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Slow (Belgium) : III - Gaia

Slow masters the Funeral Doom recipe to perfection.

Sometimes, you have to make it simple, and sometimes the simplest is the best. Slow , the band, plays slow music. Very little is known about this Belgian one-man band: Dh, the mastermind, is already in command of a multitude of other projects, Yhdarl being the one I know best (and whose qualities I praise quite highly). One sure thing (beside his obvious bulimia) is the guys tremendous talent.

Funeral Doom is an aristocratic genre: from the top of its proud nobility, it looks down upon the rest of the scene, sure of its superiority and aware of its extreme singularity, it yields to no easy seductions. This is a highly closed club and although some fans out there, mistakenly, try and force entry to allow some bands into it, that is nothing less than an impersonation - as well as a usurpation of rank. It is also a symptom of the craving for a special aura for ones favourite Death Doom outfits (still, Evoken, Esoteric, Ahab do not play in the same court as Skepticism, Mournful Congregation or Slow, mind you).

Slow is a project that combines refinement and power, touching the darkest regions of the human psyche with its icy finger; there lies the devastating power of real Funeral Doom: a disposition to destroy pleasure, to wipe the smile away, and even more amazingly, to cause a kind of sad joy, of morbid rapture - a tangible emotion that results from instrumentation stripped down to the essential, as it has been thought out from the very beginning of the genre. Slow incorporates all these gears with a remarkable subtlety: the music is, of course, ultra-heavy, but - a bit like The Howling Void - it has a majestic and ethereal vibe which makes it absolutely overwhelming. The riffs have a languid feel to them and the voice, a sublime combination of cavernous growls and vaporous lamentations, brings about the mystical dimension expected from authentic Funeral Doom. The songwriting is quite fine, progressing in dark, slow waves at the pace of the tragic riffs. The keyboard keeps a low profile: it limits itself to some scarce, misty notes, weaving a dreamlike background in which some tormented vocals come and drown...

The album is crafted with a perfect consistency of each of its parts: the rhythmic patterns are smoothly linked together and repeated; this simplicity is typical of the genre. It is also, in my opinion, its most vicious trap: infertility threatens him who confuses simplicity and minimalism. Funeral doom is no "ambient" music: if the technique is reduced to the minimum, it must remain emotionally fertile - its in the balance of the amount of each element that the indispensable emotion arises: Funeral Doom speaks to the soul, for lack of a better word; it has to go deep into you. Slow masters the recipe (because it is one indeed) to perfection. The result is a monument of clever Funeral Doom; an album that strikes me now as a masterpiece of simplicity, restraint and precision. Everything is right, everything happens at the right time with an "intention" that is never faulted.

Coldly recommended.

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Reviewer's rating: 8.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Gaia part I
2. Gaia part II

Duration : Appox 68 minutes

Visit the Slow (Belgium) bandpage.

Reviewed on 2013-12-22 by Bertrand Marchal
Rotten Copper
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