As autumn begins and the days become colder and darker, a sense of melancholy descends upon us with the knowledge of a long and uncertain winter ahead. As I contemplate this thought, I think of the times we are living in, the stark reality where very little can be taken for sure or even for granted. Sometimes it feels like the dark ages have resurfaced, with a blanket of fear covering the land. Therapist encapsulates my emotions in their music rather as well as through their words, with my moods changing from one moment to the next, where „good days“ are fewer and farther apart.
With their latest release Svet/lo Slepých, the group from Nová Bystrica, Slovakia takes us on an ambient journey through a melancholic landscape of dystopic washes of sound, blending doom and black metal with gentle touches of shoegaze throughout each composition. The album begins with ...kridla sme spalili na zemi aby sme sa nedostali do raja (feat, SL0N) (...we burned our wings on the ground so that we never reach paradise), the lenghtiest track on the album with over 15 minutes of contrasts between heavy guitars and atmospheric reminders of a saddened and abandoned land, much like the one described at the beginning. It is here that elements of Slovak folklore and witchcraft, and perhaps witches themselves, rise to the surface in explosions of anger and desperation, a pain that emerges with no hope of relief. Ironically, however, the songs are not about pagan times, but are in fact topical and deal with everyday things we encounter, especially in modern society. Similarly, Atrament Prekliatia (Accursed Ink) continues with this style, with nearly 7 minutes of gloomy, yet somewhat beautiful foreshadowing, leading to a doom ending.
All the tracks on Svet/lo Slepých are lengthy with only two that are under 2 minutes in, yet still appropriately placed amongst the others. My favourite is Smrteľný Hriech, a deeply personal song with lyrics such as „človek čo cíti, cíti prázdnotu“ (he who can feel, feels only emptiness). And it is precisely this tune where I get the meaning of „funeral doom“, a genre which classifies this song well, although I wouldn’t necessarily label the band this way. Much of the content is doom or black metal with a wall of sound in the background of the heavier bits, similar to the French band Alcest, yet definitely not a copy. And my overall impression? This is a great album with amazing production and mixing that really portrays the changing of the seasons and times very well. All the songs are personal and well-composed and very original. Svet/lo Slepých would definitely be a welcome addtion to any doom or black metalhead’s collection.