Friday, March 13, 2009

Nyctophobia - Beyond The Pillars

The heartbeat of Nyctophobia's Beyond The Pillars is the kind of barely-there lifelessness that I find so enjoyable in funeral doom. This lifelessness is also, more times than not, the draining factor that makes me press my fingers into the skin on my face, in an attempt to tear my eyeballs out. Nyctophobia's night-lord, Deimos however has managed to take the lifelessness, combine it with a feeling that the music he is making is meant to sound dead, and then still leave you clawing at your skin, trying to rid yourself of all the happiness you may have felt prior to turning out the lights and loosing yourself in the recesses created by such dense and dark doom. The atmosphere of the demo is both relaxing and pallid all at the same time. The deep, low, gnarled vomiting vocals will compel even the sturdiest doom fans to wash out their throats with antiseptic fluids. It also is fluidly smooth and patient, changing on it's own time. In this sense, it could be a useful learning tool for children suffering from attention deficit disorder. If anything will make them sit still, it is this tape.

The three song, 31 minute descent is enjoyable (in the most negative, depressing way) from start to suicide, often times drifting freely between subtle melody and a crushing rhythmic pounding. The slow churn is like being caught forever in an endless sea of black slime, too dense for you to sink, and not dense enough to let you float, leaving the listener constantly grasping for another breath. First track, "Forgotten Emperor," swirls in a manner akin to an oil slick, at times injecting color into the mix with slightly depressed melodic flourishes - possibly the sound of dying marine life - and the rest of the time allowing the inky darkness to spread before twisting into the frightening composition that is "And They Gathered," my favorite track on the tape. Somehow, this is the calmest and most dangerous track on the tape. Halfway through, massive ancient mechanized sounds appear that, to be honest, scared the excrement from my cramped bowels while listening through for the first time in my auditory sampling chamber (car). These tolls could be compared to smashing two metal bones together in a cave deep underground in the middle of Lovecraft's worst nightmare. Final track "War" combines Deimos' expertise with compelling sadistic melodies and pulsing simple, yet interesting percussion compositions. The drumming in this track is the best of the demo and the melancholy melody provided to assist the beating makes this the most edible morsel for most listeners not familiar with funeral doom. Nowhere near as acceptable as anything from Clock's album (Haven't heard it have you?) but nothing that would make the majority of the population run in terror.

The melodic additions to the tracks and experimentations in sound is what separates this UK based doom project from other notable British doom outfits such as Moss, who have a similar funeral doom foundation though revel more in the crushing weight, than the endless abyss. With this cassette costing only three dollars from Pale Horse Records, ignoring it would be a true shame for anyone who likes to be scared and/or depressed by spaced out music. Nyctophobia's pulsing demo hopefully will be only the first in a handful of interesting sonic adventures Deimos will supply us with. He is truly capable of transporting us into the emotional crevices of depressed minds.

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