Chapter 1: Delirium
11/7/2009 - Review by: Raising Iron
Erected in one of metal's most lonely and isolated of sub-genres, Finland's Colosseum stands proudly among such luminaries as Evoken and Thergothon, ruing happiness, commiserating misery, and serenading bleak revenants. Formed as recently as 2006, these four brooders have already released two full-lengths of some of the heaviest and slowest funeral doom you're ever to hear, and like their counterparts at the opposite end of the globe (Australia's Virgin Black), Colosseum see to it that things remain awash in dissonant, atmospheric flourishes, which simply add to the starkly forbidden world in which they dwell.
Chapter 1: Delirium from 2007 is the bands first full-length foray into the funeral doom genre (I've yet to hear 2009's second opus – Chapter 2: Numquam), and with a predetermination to write some of the dreariest and heaviest songs they could muster, this effort more than delivers. As is often the case with this type of metal, it takes a few listens to break through the density of the entire affair to get to where you can start to really hear all the parts, movements, and atmospheric nuances that define the style; and with six songs clocking in at 64 minutes (all but one song break the ten minute mark!), the style adheres to its unforgiving nature toward the listener, meant only for the select few who are willing and daring enough to endure the misery. From the first notes of opening track The Gate of Adar", guttural vocals signal the crushing despair to follow. The quiet, midway respite in "Saturnine Vastness" almost reminds one of Agalloch or Opeth; and the slow keyboard build of "Aesthetics of the Grotesque" is absolutely haunting, bringing in the crashing heaviness of the rhythm section and its slow plod. Squeezing every last ounce of tormented squalor is the bands M.O., and they've more than succeeded with this debut. Again, what really makes these guys tower over many of their peers is their judicious use of space, creating the ambience with several shades of grey.
If funeral doom is a category you're comfortable residing in, you'll find no better dwelling than inside Finland's Colosseum.
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