Some genres you can only listen to when you’re in a very specific mood. Otherwise, they just feel wrong somehow, perhaps because they hammer home that very specific mood and if that isn’t resonating with you, then the music won’t either. I think funereal doom might be one of the genres for which this is most correct; if you’re not feeling the bleakness that the generate radiates, then it can be very hard to sit through its extended and ponderous runtimes. But when you’re feeling like nothing is going right and you just want to give yourself over to the void, what hits better than some depressingly slow guitars, bottomless growls, and overall sense of grandiosity that feels like the very silence between the stars is echoing in your ears?
Drown‘s Subaqueous is all of these things and more, an excellent funereal doom release from 2020 that’s going criminally overlooked. Channeling the oceanic themes of genre mainstays like Ahab, Drown make the kind of music that summons forth the incredible weight of water and the deep freeze of the ocean floor. Massive chords unfold on two tracks, each over twenty minutes long, taking their time to etch out a glacial route for the rest of the music. What sets Drown apart is the fantastic lead guitar work that goes on while these ponderous main chords resonate out; it draws a sort of post-rock sadness down, a more delicate but also more penetrating sort of melancholy than the heavier main lines.
The vocals are, of course, deep and guttural, two sounds which work very well with those lead guitars, the vocals and main chords working together in contrast to the moroseness that they conjure. Thus, there is no real escape on Drown’s Subaqueous; you’re surrounded by despair and depth on either side. There is no scintillating respite or moments of fragile beauty within the maelstrom, only different, but still freezing, shades of blue. If you’re in that mood, there is no substitute for this kind of punishing funereal doom and, these days, who isn’t in that mood every so often?