Is that low rumbling vocal the final warning of a doomed earth tearing itself apart? Or maybe it’s just Tyranny returned from a decade long recording hiatus to put the icing on the cake in what is fast turning out to be the year of funeral doom. To be clear, the cake is long since mouldered and rotted into a blackened crusty shell and the icing is merely the dust of ages long since passed…. But you get my drift. With progressive types like Ahab or France’s Monolithe pushing boundaries and trying to be all clever, it’s about time for a band to remind us what this stuff is all about.
So forget funky hour-long musical tableaus and forget sea monsters and Moby Dick. Because this is the essence of slow, saurian doom is sepia heavens, Catholic hells and sorrowful farewells. Tyranny’s last effort in 2005 is considered something of a classic of the genre. Meanwhile, Lauri Lindqvist and Matti Mäkelä have also been proving themselves with the more blackened funeral doom of Wormphlegm and the slightly more accessible, but still within the same genre, Profetus (think Brian May jamming with a church organ). While Tyranny is very different from both those bands, perhaps proving how variable this genre can actually be, they aren’t tearing up the rule book. What they are providing here is classic funeral doom album but dissected, every sinew drawn out and presented larger than – if this is an appropriate word to use – life.
Tyranny have concocted such a giant, cavernous, atmospheric sound here that I’m tempted to describe it, and this may also sound odd describing a genre known for its singular, linear approach, as three dimensional. Not so much sweeping away the grime and mildew as magnifying countless times over to allow us to inspect the pointless, gloomy existence of every single molecule and cell and holding it up into sharp focus.
Each track takes on a different aspect of the band with the first, Sunless Deluge, opening up the core sound like a crack in the firmament of the universe. The vocals grind out like some sort of event; guitars crash and whine and you’re left imagining something very bad indeed happening as the 11 minute track trickles, ebbs and then flows into a quickening climax. Darkness descends. One thing Tyranny seem to have perfected is the use of unhurried ‘white space’ pauses. Using the absence of sound, or at least protracted period of little activity, almost as effectively as their use of noise. It’s eminently demonstrated on the second track where, first the rhythm section, and then the other instruments falter and then finally give up and fail like a sickening man.
Add to that hanging guitar riffs and gaps between some of the percussion strikes so long you could wash the breakfast dishes during the pause. After a long faintly ecclesiastical pause, there’s a reprieve for the poor old soul who comes back with a spring in his step as he makes his way towards the final gate. Other tracks such as Preparation of a Vessel throw up a dystopian chaos full of clashing riffs and off-beat harmonics and the eerie atmospherics of The Stygian Enclave.
Yes, this has plodding pace – albeit with admirably variable speed – growled vocals and occasional use of bleakly ascending guitars. But the Finns have excelled themselves here by immersing us in a slowly descending darkness that is seldom seen even in funeral doom. Grainy and yet strangely illuminating with its varying shades of gloom. This goes well beyond their debut and with a production that wisely allows us to inspect every single morsel rather than washing everything in distortion as they could so easily have done.
The final track, Bells of the Black Basilica, acts like the beating of some giant pulsing heart before the perhaps predictable, but in Tyranny’s case rarely and more subtly used, euphoric guitars make a final entrance. It’s rare that the vocals could be considered part of the rhythm section but reverberates against the bass guitar acting in parallel to produce a sound like the scraping of tectonic plates.
Emerging from the 51 minute reverie of Aeons in Tectonic Interment it strikes me that putting your finger on the perfect funeral doom sound might be difficult. But this is pretty close for me. So much so, that I can honestly say, if that kid (you know, the one who’s always asking people what different genres of metal mean) came up and asked me what funeral doom is – I would hand him a copy of Aeons of Tectonic Internment without hesitation before launching into an hour long diatribe about what it was like being before the internet and mobile phones.
Expansive and perfectly executed.
(8.5/10 Reverend Darkstanley)