Sunday, September 27, 2009

Reclusiam - Reclusiam (2004)

Demo, Self Released

Track list:
1. Parasellar 12:16
2. Litanies of Rust and Decay 13:20
3. Enim Corpus Meum (Hill 60) 14:30
4. Scotoma 04:44
Total playing time 44:48

I once had a conversation with a friend about our respective interests in music and I declared that I preferred listening to dark, depressing music. Naturally, he could not comprehend why I would choose to listen to something miserable and despondent and not something upbeat and lively. I guess, the experiences in my past explain my affinity towards this type of music, but I always wonder why people are scared to explore the darker and the more gloomy side of life. Why are they scared to explore the darkness within them? I never understood this, but whenever I want to do just that, Reclusiam’s debut is the first album I reach out to.

To put it simply, this album captures the true essence of depression and loneliness in its music. Musically, it is flawless and radiates emotions of emptiness and solitude with every passing second. The music is minimalistic and melancholic. Each song is 10+ minutes long, as expected with funeral doom. It is your typical funeral doom on this first listen. The long drawn out chords, the slow plodding drums and deep harsh vocals; But what is truly amazing about this release is how Ryan Henry has taken all his influences and added his own touch to it. There is something about this release that makes it different from most other funeral doom albums that I have heard.

Every track is similar. It starts off with “Parasellar” which is quite possibly, one of the best tracks I have heard in this genre. The riffs are extremely slow and lifeless. Its as if he only plays a chord once every 10 seconds or so. The vocals and nice and low growls, but are used sparsely. The atmosphere is stunning. The organs and the violin intertwine to form melodies that are so full of despair and despondency that you immediately wonder what mental state the musician was in when he wrote it. The last 3 minutes of ‘parasellar’ with the violins and organs playing together is possibly the most haunting piece of music I have ever heard.

The other tracks are also on the same level, which is brilliant. ‘Litanies of rust and decay’ is next. The song just explodes with a slow, plodding riff and some spoken vocals/growls. The vocals are brilliant and add another dimension to the sound. It sounds as if he is dying slowly and is sinking into despair. The sitar used in this track is brilliant and adds to the atmosphere. ‘Enim Corpus Meum’ is the third track. The song starts off slowly and repetitively, and just as you begin to feel overcome with emotion, the drums and guitar bursts out. The song continues on a slow pace till the end where it picks up and unleashes a tirade full of misanthropy and hatred.

The best thing about this album is the atmosphere. It is claustrophobic and crushing. It sucks you in even before you realize it and does not let go till the end. The production is perfect, with no instrument upstaging the other. Most importantly, the guitar tone is perfect but the main focus is on the keys. The songs are long, but at no point do they become tiresome.

In conclusion, this album is perfect for people who like funeral doom. Its slow, dark and depressing. It will leave you thoroughly disillusioned with this world…this life…with humanity.

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