After a few relatively quiet months,¬† Dark Descent Records has unleashed an unholy duo of crumbling doom/death metal in the form of Emptiness‘s experimentally depressive Loss and Anhedonist‘s crawling, lumbering debut, Netherwards. However, when truly unearthing Netherwards one word comes to mind more than any other; Cavernous.

Playing a form of subterranean doom/death metal Seattle’ s Anhedonist initially comes across like Disembowelment mixed with Incantation in a Ambien overdose induced stupor mixed with Paradise Lost‘s first album. Throw in some crafty yet epic traditional doom melodies, a few creaking death metal jaunts and just a cocaine sliver of uneasy experimentation and you get 4 songs and 40 minutes of transcendental¬† but still concise and heaving doom metal.

Some more short term memory based listeners with think of last year’s Disma release as a point of reference with Anhedonist‘s cavernous hues. But where Disma had this big, churning echoing presence like fire lit some tribal cave ritual, Anhedonist tone is more suited to the the cave’s dank, hidden black lakes, things unknown slithering in unseen crevices and filthy cadaver strewn floors. Though it still has a pretty heaving, hefty presence, its not as heavy as the Disma but makes up for it with a more typical doom prose and mood, injecting a more crawling, haunting and oppressive, claustrophobic¬† feel.

“Saturnine” opens things up with some brief atmospherics before a Incantation styled burst segues into the band’s more restrained,lurching tempo. The 10 minute “Estrangement” unravels the band’s very subtle use of traditional doom layering with a a first half that could have come from the recent Pallbearer album. However, the track soon spirals into a double bass filled trot that tumbles and screams into a full on murky, death metal landslide before slithering way into the darkness with a mournful, atonal lope.

The album’s shortest track, the 5 minute “Carne Liberatus” (free meat?) fleshes out the Incantation vibe with a direct churning assault of discordant, subterranean roaring and crawling. It adds a little fire and brimstone to the otherwise catatonic rumbling of the album, but the closer, the 15 minute “Inherent Opprobrium”, like “Estrangement” is where the band shines, or rather, glistens with a caliginous sheen. It again shows the bands deft classic rending doom melodies mingled with the heaving, tenebrous gait and presence of something much more nauseating.

As if Dark Descent weren’t good enough already, they’ve unearthed two splendid new releases with Netherwards being an album I see getting a lot of attention at years end.






[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 23rd, 2012


  1. Commented by: bast

    Very good album

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