Mammoth, unrelenting, outspoken and absolutely, irrevocably heavy. These terms are just a fraction of what could be used to describe the very talented and very real Jupiterian. With their new album on Caligari Records and multiple different news sources writing about the endless amount of raw potential and developments (us here at CVLT Nation included), Jupiterian have nothing but the world at their fingertips. This five song orthostatic evil that possesses listeners across the board to not only start but finish it in sequential order is something that bands across the world vie for. Here at CVLT we premiered three of the five songs and the response was impeccable; everyone loves it, including our staff.
Aphotic has what every fan of drone, doom, sludge, fuzz, heavy and everything of the sort wants and needs in a release. The Brazilian four-piece give us straining, decadent, and demanding vocals on the low-end of politeness. The harsh, precise, and forcefully significant droning of the guitars create a nearly complete sphere of influence over your brain and body. Severe, scrupulous drum work chains your instincts and senses together in a direct focus on what could easily be my favorite doom release of 2015. From the first slam of “Permanent Grey” to the closing cacophonous diminuendo of “Drag Me To My Grave,” it does nothing but relentlessly pummel you and reaffirm your belief in the truth of doom.
“Permanent Grey” draws back the curtains and throws all caution to the wind, the wall of dark clouds, lightning, and fuzz beyond your wildest dreams descending across your psyche’s horizon, submerging you in suffocating heaviness. Breathing frequencies more than a Sunn O))) show, Jupiterian has an unrivaled air of seniority while this is only their first LP and second release overall. The demolishing sweeps of the opening track tear down entire cities within your mind and start lighting the rubble on fire. Minutes pass of devastation before the vocals come in to guide you, an unquestionable and unrivaled overlord yelling at you in a way that you can’t help but submit to his demands. The deep, core-shredding, throat-ruining scowls of words that burn their way past V’s (as labeled on social media) throat. There’s a slight overlay utilizing acidic and hissing high vocals that do nothing short of shred their way in one ear and out the other.
“Daylight” is the second track and seamlessly picks up the lifeless remains of whomever had the pleasure of enduring “Permanent Grey,” ritually raises them from their supposedly eternal sleep with the guitar in the beginning and simultaneously beats them into their next life with the reigning vocal work. This song progresses through several different forms, and none of them are Jupiterian’s final. This song is definitely the most melodic work on the album, but never shies away from the relentlessly bludgeoning punch their tone and arrangements serve. This song drones and scales for a solid eight minutes and forty-five seconds before surrendering to the next erected shrine of a track.
“Proclamation” is my personal favorite on Aphotic because of the length, the composition, and the monumental break that happens at about six and a half minutes through the song. From the get-go, this song is cut and dry bulldozing. The slowed Electric Wizard-esque feel could make even the most docile bash their head into the air repeatedly. It tempts you with back and forth sways at different time stamps into the first breakdown that feels as if someone is slowly digging their heels into your sternum. The growling vocals make an entrance and do nothing short of send chills along each and every vertebra you have. After speeding things up just the tiniest bit to distinguish breakdown from traditional riffing, the vocals get downright scary at five minutes, the overlay we’ve seen in the previous songs being done to the perfect extent. After the voice has had its fill, it relents itself to nearly a minute and a half of pure build. Feedback, one repeated bar, soft drum usage; the crescendo constructs itself a mass grave by the time this breakdown that doesn’t go down a step fights everything that could possibly be within range for you. The riffs pick you up and throw you to more than just wolves as the shrill, almost occult highs traipse behind you, following your every move until you finally go dark again.
The title track “Aphotic” is what the album is named after for a reason. This is easily my second favorite song on the album and it does nothing short of solidify the term Funeral Doom. Starting with shrill notes of palm muting and feedback pedals on the thin strings, all stops are pulled. This song goes back and forth and uses every element from its predecessor and pushes them into one defining piece that deserves the title of the album. Vocal overlays, melodious breaks, tragic death storms of sludge, and even some dabbling spoken word-esque that sounds like those creepy hoodlums in horror movies that always end up getting possessed. There’s nothing much else to say when the song speaks for itself so well.
“Drag Me To My Grave” is a different story for Aphotic, as it is not labeled on the album but is included as a bonus song that was released as a single prior to the release. Either way, this song is such a great way to close the recording that it feels right. Clocking in five minutes and thirty-nine seconds, it’s the shortest in the tracklist, but it just gets to that riffing and display of learned complexity that adds those lovely flourishes to doom and sludge everywhere before sending you off the deep end and rescuing you several times. It feels almost like being in the middle of a typhoon when deep sea fishing (as if we’re ever outside) where there’s imminent danger and being thrown to and fro before everything settles down into one satisfactory, nearly-hopeful note.
Overall, Aphotic is an amalgamation of an almost deadly amount of heavy buzzing, coaxing yet wretched and alarming vocals, velveteen yet unrelentingly savage instrumentals, inviting yet repulsive titles, and an insatiable power and force of unopposed dread that channels an immense sound with animalistic intention that ends in a rather unexpected way. This album is nothing short of heavy in the finest of regards, yet still gives you the melodious and harmony that you crave, and leaves me with a voracious appetite for more music. Definitely stay on guard for whatever spears these guys hurl at us next.
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