It’s no secret that we’re big fans of doom around here. We’ve written a plethora of articles on the genre’s past, present, and future, talked at length about the many exceptional bands we find gracing the scene at the moment, and doom metal albums always have a strong presence on our year’s-end lists. Seriously, we just love the stuff, and that’s why a new doom band being brought to our attention in one way or another is always a momentous occasion, one we try to share with you, dear reader, as soon as possible.
Case in point: over the weekend, we caught wind of the new album from Chicago-based doom pairing Flesh of the Stars, a band that lies squarely on the psychedelic, lighter side of the genre, evoking floaty progressive rock in the vein of Pink Floyd in tandem with the funereal melancholy of Lycus or the lighter side of Agalloch. Across Anhilla, which is one 45-minute suite comprised of seven different parts, the duet moves through waves, channeling a variety of beautiful sounds into a twisting, weaving piece of music that occupies that unique liminal space between the most earthly and transcendent spheres that good doom metal so often does.
The crunching, pounding buildup at the end of “II” segues smoothly into the warbling synths of “III,” the same riff repeated and drummed into the brain as a meditative mantra for over five minutes. At first, the melody gallops, but it settles quickly through the repetition into a fine, silky vessel, a singular texture that provides a stage on which vocals shimmer and quiet, washed-out guitar leads follow in their stead; the song steadily morphs and shifts into a new mode, catching the listener totally off-guard when they finally realize their listening experience isn’t what it was before. This is their modus operandi here, for sure: songs are non-Euclidean edifices that break apart and rebuild in slow motion, building ever higher towards the transcendent moments that grace Anhilla‘s last tracks. Imagine the ethereal melodies of the classic Pink Floyd albums slowed to the glacial pace of Earth, the solos of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” floating freeform through space and time as the drums reverberate through the ink-black emptiness and keyboard lines slip away into nothingness, and that’s a pretty good idea of what you’ve got here. Point being, this album is fantastic, and it’s worth your time to give it a listen. Doom fans, don’t sleep on this one.