〇 "Null & Void" - 78%
An Empty Body, May 13th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2014, Cassette, Vánagandr (Pro-cassette)
〇 are a blackened doom metal band hailing from Iceland. Not much is known about the project, other than that it was conceived in 2012, and features five members (two of which are in the much-admired Misþyrming). I'd say the quintet plays a monstrous and complex form of doom metal. When I compare other contemporaries of the doom genre to 〇, their takes on it are much more elemental and stark. This band just layers a lot onto itself, and caters to a broader emotional spectrum. Having an atmosphere that's diverse is great, because it gives way to intrigue and makes you want to keep on listening. And, for an album holding one song that towers at thirty-four minutes, having an atmosphere that's diverse is an absolute must.
If I were to start somewhere with this behemoth of a release, it'd obviously be at the beginning. No slow-building walls of sound, and no crescendos; this beast rips the fucking door off its hinges and lunges straight towards you. Riffs inspired by true doom numb the brain, and twangy strings are plucked from behind. Soon after, deep bellowing voices are heard in the distant background. It reminds me of what most Cascadian black metal bands do, something I usually hate with passion, but here, it is pulled off excellently. The first fifteen minutes are where the guitarist really reveals his solid ability to strike all the right chords. They get stuck in your head, and you just want to listen to 'em over and over again!
With middle-section of Null & Void, there isn't too much to specifically point out... because it's all fucking incredible! This is where the vocals shine most in my opinion. Clearly inspired by DSBM, the vocalist just retches forth pure agony. And when he shrieks, it truly sounds like a little girl being slammed into concrete (I'm quite the wordsmith, I know). I like it a lot. it's ear candy to me, I just want more of it! Specifically, eighteen minutes in, these chanting vocals rush in and I immediately was reminded of early hardcore punk. This is one of many examples of how this band really keeps you ripe with curiosity. Once you hear those punk rock-y chants, you really want to see where they were going with the rest of the track/album.
As for the end, that's where it's falls pretty short. 〇 really builds everything up at the finale, and it just crashes down. It basically ceases completely. It's hard to put it into words. If you listen through the whole song, you'll know exactly what I mean. I was a little bit disappointed at that. But in total, this was quite the debut. I'm very interested to see where these guys go next, because Null & Void left me craving for second helpings.