Through no fault of my own I find myself constantly listening to brilliant doom albums. Most that know me, know I love this sort of music (even if they don’t fully understand why). Hailing from Melbourne, Australia comes Subterranean Disposition (backed by Solitude Productions and Hypnotic Dirge Records) and their second release, aptly titled: ‘Contagiuum and the Landscapes of Failure’. As it stands I can see just how 2016 is shaping to be a great year for heavy music, the doom genre is not being left behind.
‘Contagiuum and the Landscapes of Failure’ lives in melody. Where most doom relies on riffs to carry a track from one end to the other, Subterranean Disposition combine each element in waves, bringing themes together with a devastating result. Saxophones and clean piano tones weave amongst the high gain riffs and trudging drum patterns. More often than not the track’s opening and closing features only increase the listeners’ need to listen to more of this album. After a small two minute introduction in “Hungry Ghosts On Rotten Soil” filled with dulcent clean tones, building feedback and wind noises it’s clear to see why I’m being “drawn into” this sophomore release. It’s the perfect foundatio for doom, wrapping an album in light atmospherics even before the record begins. The theme only builds into void intensity as the record progresses. “Wooden Kimono Fixative” brings together the notes in relaxed chordal progressions before being joined by that saxophone which melts into the instrumental layering provided. Just hearing about that saxophone should attract new listeners to this doom act; it’s not everyday you will hear “doom” and “saxophone” together like this. Some patience is required throughout this release; barring the introduction, all tracks exceed the ten minute mark, falling into twelve minutes on a regular basis. For me it’s perfect, allowing the music to naturrally progress within a track and move into the next. Nothing becomes forced or contrived in any sense while ideas form fully on their own. It’s weird how natural these compositions can sound while floating between the smooth and relaxed cleaner tones and the devastatingly surreal ‘metal’ sections. Terry Vainoras shines as an instrumentalist but it’s his vocal range that stands above all else. From strong growls to even powered roars to higher shrieks and even the cleans that pepper the record each vocal imprint is felt by the listener, couple this with the operatic altos of Gelareh Pour and the contrast between each element only adds to how cohesive the album as a whole becomes. “Embittered Final” is a perfect example of Subterranean Disposition’s ability to mix doom metal stereotypes with some truly out of the box thinking. The guitar work moves into a progressive sludge territory before capitilizing on the minimalist cleans that shine through the record. If you haven’t heard of Subterranean Disposition before, this would be one of the band’s greater entry points; captivating from start to finish.
‘Contagiuum and the Landscapes of Failure’ is strong and beautiful, yet graceful to the touch. It doesn’t take a genius to recognise that this is great and for a sophomore release it shows a band lifting its game, expanding on the momentum created in the debut. The melancholy presented in “A Life Long Slumber” draws on the post-apocalyptical presence of Subterrranean Disposition’s thematic views. The crooned spoken word only adds to the minimalistic approach that dominates the track. Chaos presents itself where it’s needed, nothing here is over-done. A melody hauntingly repeats itself throughout the piece, echoed rhythmically by the spoken word vocal passages – the effect is chilling and makes the agonized screams stand out all the more. From a song-writing stand point, this is top level, quality and stands as an exercise in “How To Doom 101”. Drawing influence from death, melodic rock and traditional funeral doom soundscapes it’s weirdly acceptable to see just how accesible this monolith of musical beauty is. Emotion bleeds through the tracks into the listeners’ mind.
Overall 2016 is shaping to be a great year for music in all formats. ‘Contagiuum and the Landscapes of Failure’ stands at the top of the doom field, reveling in its own underated glory. Everything is coming together for a band that really deserves it. Hypnotic Dirge Records and Solitude Productions have found something special in this Melbourne based act. Personally, I can’t wait for Subterranean Diposition to top themselves on a third release (if the current trend continues) and continue their post apocalyptic supremacy.
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