|Genre: Death/Doom Metal|
|Release Date: 12th of March, 2021|
|Released via Transcending Obscurity Records|
|Cover Artwork © Transcending Obscurity Records|
It was pretty much by accident that I came across this band from Portugal when my fellow author Nino mentioned that he planned to write a review for this release. Transcending Obscurity is a label I have been following for quite some time now, but this release kind of slipped my attention – until first listening into it when Nino and I agreed that I will take over writing. Sepulcros is a Portugese Death Doom combo that delivers their full-length debut with Vazio being released on several absolutely astonishing vinyl variants via Trancending Obscurity Records.
The entire sound on this release showcases that the major emphasis for the band lies on building up a heavy atmosphere that encompasses the Death Doom sound these Portugese are playing. The soundscape that is created is dense, slow and takes a massive amount of space to breathe. Although the focus lies heavily within the scope of the Doom section, the guitar play is not cut short and comes along with suppressing melodies.
The most prominent aspect of a dense Doom atmosphere on Vazio is already introduced with the opener that is merely a 1-minute-track that serves the function of initialising a sonical setting for the music to come. It opens up with a sinister setting, chains rattle and the listener is immediately pushed towards getting to know that this is going to be about constructing a feral atmosphere as well as about immerging in a surrounding that is not going to be convenient. Imagine taking part in your favorite apocalypse movie, hopelessly wandering towards the scene where you find out that everything you love is gone forever while knowing that you are going to face even graver calamity – right at the spot of finding out, you could imagine the first track of this album (“Vazio”) to kick in. The dense and malicious ambience follows you throughout the entire album and is also one of the aspects that maintains your attention.
This strong atmosphere is majorly upheld by the surprisingly harmonic lead melodies that also construct this face-your-nemesis vibe that leads you through the whole album. On the first song “Vazio,” the epic sound of these melodies is massively overwhelming when it opens up without an announcement after the soundscape introduction. Especially when combined with the drums that know when to remain in the background and when to break out, the atmosphere is also coined by dynamic tempo changes. When the album opens up, the melodies entirely mesmerize the listener so as to get stuck in the slow sound, which is then broken when the first fast and grinding outbreak shows its galvanizing effect. I really enjoy the fact that these outbursts are not evenly spread all over but rather tend to be short peaks, because this massively increases the impact when you step into grinding fury.
Apart from that, these outbursts also change in style. Whereas the first outburst that takes place on “Vazio,” as well as some further similar sequences tend to make use of Grindcore elements when regarding the drumming that switches into fast blasting, the outbreaks on the last track “Hecatomb” introduce a very convincing influence of strong Black Metal sound as well. This means that the Doom atmosphere not only partly blends with Grind regarding the drums, but also immerses in a Black Metal tone alternating the playstyle of the guitars.
The final song “Hecatomb” – before the ambient outro – then marks the eventual highlight on this release. Starting off with an unexpected, pleasant, clean guitar intro and a sound following that reminds a lot of Post-Black Metal or Blackgaze guitar playing in the vein of Alcest or Downfall of Gaia, this track unfolds differently than the rest. After this clean intro, Sepulcros move further towards a strongly Black Metal infused tone on the guitars, the drums and especially the vocals. This is yet another spot where also the strong and versatile vocals showcase that there is capability to easily switch between different styles in order to match the sound.
It is probably no secret for bands as well as fans that having signed to Transcending Obscurity Records most probably means that your album is going to have various beautiful pressings – which is also the case for Sepulcros. This album is still available in three different variants and I strongly recommend getting one before they’re gone, because this is music you put on your player and fully immerge in. Apart from that, you can get a full body print cassette that is also available in a coffin-shaped cassette box – better be quick!
After violently having been thrown into the setting of this release and working towards a climax in the form of a blasting finale on “Marcha Funebre,” the album opens up for a few sunrays in the end, eventually finishing in the bleak atmosphere it began with. Anyone who is into strong Death Doom music and also enjoyed last year’s releases such as Void Rot’s Descending Pillars or Bloodsoaked Necrovoid’s Expelled into the Unknown Depths of the Unfathomable that are capable of constructing a strong and individual atmosphere as well should definitely go for this album – it is not going to disappoint you.
9 / 10