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Ras Algethi - Oneiricon - The White Hypnotic
Review: Much like the early works of black metal, this album defines itself by inducing a dreamlike state through repetition and gentle variation within patterns, much like erosion of undiscovered mountains and forgotten beaches. Stylistically, it is perhaps the finest expression of doom metal yet experienced, creating an atmosphere unrivaled in its acuity and consistency. It was overlooked by most because it uses clean vocals and actual singing in a style reminiscent of ecclesiastical chorales, and because it requires an attention span exceeding that of most popular music listeners.
For those unfamiliar with these genres, this might be compared to the style of Metallica's instrumental "Call of Cthulhu," in that it has a clear verse-chorus pattern from which like river tributaries tangents arise, introduce new themes, and synthesize these before converging on a new version of the original pattern; melodic and rhythmic inflections as well as derivation of phrase mark these changes. As a result, it does not cycle like most rock music, but builds steadily through a pattern of interrupted consistency accumulating the changes of the interludes that divide it. The technique is flawless in that it allows this band to take the basic patterns and melodies necessary to doom metal and not only modify them, but develop them further, escaping the redundancy of that genre.
Percussion holds back so thoughtfully for most of this that it does not intrude, and allows interplay of guitar and masculine yet contemplative vocals, forming more of a container for the song than a guiding force. Similarly bass holds back to harmonize with riff when not guiding it with a choice selection of notes, doubled; guitar is of the classic doom metal variety, with little tremolo strum or muffled playing. Its genius is in not taking doom at face value, and developing doomy riffs to a state from which they flower into a much wider perception of reality. In this it has more heritage from black and progressive metal than doom, but as a statement of atmosphere, it is the crown of that genre.