Below The Sun - Alien World album review
Siberia’s interstellar doom crew plot a familiar course
This Siberian doom quintet’s interstellar obsessions continue abound on their second album, with its concept built upon the classic 1961 sci-fi novel, Solaris. The record explores the labyrinth of the human psyche within a ponderous palette of crushing doom and ethereal mystery. Blind Ocean’s rampant introduction to their oppressive world emerges from atmospheric obfuscation – an impressive soundscape considering the band used no synthesisers during recording. Reducing the track lengths and increasing the amount of vocals – both fathomlessly enraged and hauntingly baleful – since 2015’s Envoy makes Alien World more approachable, yet somewhat formulaic. Atmospherics give way to crushing passages poignantly pierced by mournful leads lifted from Katatonia’s early-era playbook, but predictably so, rather than a building sense of intrigue throughout the record. It’s a shame, as its last three tracks – Dried Shadows’ eerily atmospheric rambunction, Black Wave’s morbid waltz-cum leviathan stomp and the Pink Floyd overtones of haunting closer In Memories – present the best moments here. But do you have the attention span to get there?