Tue 3rd May 2016
What can be said on the funeral doom genre that hasn't been squeezed out of every critic's mind before? Not a lot we'll grant you.
However, when something can be appreciated outside of the often sticky confines of pigeonholes, it can ascend those expectations and deliver something truly interesting. While not breaking any tropes or laying into new ground, Finnish gloom-mongers Arche have produced a beguiling debut.
From the bleak cover photography to the glacial speeds contained within, Undercurrents at least sounds authentic and beautiful. Funeral doom has often been pushed to the wayside for being too inaccessible and thoroughly miserable. Not so here.
Throughout, there's a balance between those sections that seek to simply crush with plodding drums and hanging, downtuned notes. Sure the deathy growl is convincingly low and the pace never rises above a few measly rpm, but we wouldn't have it any other way. Richly gothic where other bands might have left gaps and crushing space, the leads that fly over the mists and fog of catharsis bring a romance and interest to play.
Understated keys also provide a more achingly touching sound to proceedings. The two tracks here are elevated as a result. Not obsessed with the volume aspect, rather the manic euphoria that the nature of this music can elicit. Painting a sonic picture here, Arche verge on the pastoral. Images that could be conjured up include sheets of grey rain falling on a valley, or the soft stillness of a lake.
Either way, their huge vision is realised here in abundance. The power behind their sound could well stop you in your tracks.