Fuoco Fatuo - Obsidian Katabasis review

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Band: Fuoco Fatuo
Album: Obsidian Katabasis
Release date: April 2021

01. Obsidian Bulwark (Creation Of The Absurd)
02. I
03. Thresholds of Nonexistence Through Eerie Aeon
04. II
05. Psychoactive Katabasis
06. III

You funeral doom should be either an atmosphere of desolation or an atmosphere of death. Fuoco Fatuo go for the latter.

Doom metal is perhaps the one metal genre that has become the largest umbrella term, and with the most nitpicky subgenres. Only it can have something like "Melodic death doom" be a valid subgenre that is somehow a different thing from "Gothic doom". One of the more extreme forms of doom is funeral doom, with its glacial paces and bone-chilling atmospheres. But even within such an insular subgenre of a subgenre, you can kind of make further distinction, even if lines are blurred. There is what you can call "emotional" funeral doom, where the pace and ambiance tries to evoke an emotional state of sadness, despair, misery, desolation, you name it. And then there is funeral doom that is more concerned with instilling fear and dread. This is an even more colossal version of death doom, with the "doom" taken to its extremes, but the "death" still intact. This is Fuoco Fatuo's Obsidian Katabasis.

I mean, just one look at the cover art can make you expect some Incantation-core, but this is stretching the infernal suffering just a bit longer. At slightly over an hour in runtime, which is very fit for funeral doom, Obsidian Katabasis is divided into three massive dirges and three longer ambient interludes. But the six tracks work so well together that it doesn't feel like the dark ambient parts are completely relegated to those interludes, but instead completely integrated within the sound. As a result, the album threads a lot in waters that are less intense, and can still tingle some spines even in its more low-key moments. Hellish and dark textures are aloft, and they can be both suffocating and ominous. Sometimes the transition between the two happens so gradually that you don't even notice it, you just realize at one point that you've been crushed.

Tracing its lineage to the progenitors Disembowelment and Thergothon, there's a sense of ethereal otherworldly-ness in Obsidian Katabasis. Mostly of the harrowing kind. Even the few clean vocals used here are distant and tormented. The death influence is mostly felt in the gurgly vocals, since there aren't many moments where the pace picks up, in which it could've appeared more in the riffing too. But the atmosphere feels cavernous akin to a death metal one, just passed through an Esoteric filter. Probably helps that Esoteric's Greg Chandler is doing the mastering here, and why the production suits into making this sound even more harrowing. And it's amazing how it can sound this airy and surreal, yet so devastating.

What makes the atmosphere on Obsidian Katabasis so unique is pretty hard to describe, but it mostly lies in how effectively it contrasts its two sides: the heavy and the otherwordly. It relies on its influences, but it manages to pierce through and find a unique sound. And they manage not to sound like they're overstaying their welcome within the hourlong runtime.


Written on 08.04.2021 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.

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