Thergothon. Skepticism. Tyranny. All reasons why the mere description ‘Finnish funeral doom’ had me clamouring to hear this album. Profetus do not disappoint. Their style is utterly, crushingly leaden, yet at the same time delicate and airy, with penetrating church-organ-like synths shining through an endless line of painfully-dragging riffs, the percussion sparse, resounding thuds punctuated by stark cymbal clashes. It sounds ancient, evoking the guttering candles and cloistered darkness of some solemn church rite, but beyond that is a feeling of antedeluvian majesty of aeons past. Lovecraftian in scope, there is a sense of immeasurable time that weighs heavy on the mind.
Though coarse and guttural, the vocals are morose rather than aggressive, whilst the medieval synths sit prominently, sorrowful guitar leads occasionally intertwining with them as the monolithic riffs and slow-pounding drums slowly break down the listener’s defences. It feels funereal in the most literal sense; a procession. What makes it work is the subtlety. The gradual progression. The delicate emotive twists and turns. The creeping-in of clean guitar and soft spoken word.
‘The Dire Womb of Winter’ is a masterful fifteen-minute dirge that changes shape at a glacial pace, its dismal gloom eventually giving way to the release of a still-primeval but far more intimate and unrestrained progression with an almost sludgy, Neurosis-like feel, which is then subsumed by the full crashing weight and momentum of all that came before. It all flows beautifully.
‘Dead Are Our Leaves of Autumn’ is something different, characterised by elaborate, melodic leads that dart in and out between the sparse rhythmic hammer-blows, at first quite mournful before spiraling upwards into increasingly intricate and bluesy ruminations. It’s well done, though I’m not sure if it quite fits with the tone of the rest of the album. Still, it remains an interesting diversion.
My only other reservation with the album is that there’s not enough of it. Discounting the (admittedly excellent) synth intro, there are just three tracks on offer here, with a total runtime of 36 minutes. What is here though is superbly constructed and wholly transporting. If you’re someone who loves to get hopelessly lost in Stormcrowfleet, then you need to give this a listen.
(8.5/10 Erich Zann)