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D.O.R./Elysian Blaze/Lyrinx - Universal Absence (-/10) - Portugal/Great Britain - 2008

Genre: Black Metal / Doom Metal
Label: Insidious Poisoning Records
Playing time: 76:23
Band homepage: D.O.R.
Band homepage: Elysian Blaze
Band homepage: Lyrinx

Tracklist:

Lyrinx

  1. Expect The End
  2. Astral Collapse
  3. Universal Negativity

Elysian Blaze

  1. Black Hole Euphoria

D.O.R.

  1. Funeral Of The Sun
  2. Death Overcomes Reality
  3. Testimony Of Decadence
  4. Dreamwalk
D.O.R. - Universal Absence

With another year almost under the bullet belt and the festive season approaching fast many of us are bound to find ourselves just a tad too chipper for our own good. There’s no reason to rejoice – Xmas is a marketing ploy that will see us raped at the retailers, next year will be yet another one of broken new-years resolutions, and ultimately we’re all another 365 days closer to the cold embrace of the grave. Realizing this, the fine folks at Insidious Poisoning have compiled “Universal Absence” for us, a handy 3-way split that will help haul all that happiness right out of our lives. God bless ‘em. Press play...  

Up first is UK act LYRINX, and from the first note they completely own this release with their highly potent brand of depressive Black Metal and powerful melodic Doom infusions. OK, in many ways this whole depressive Black Metal movement is the emo of extreme Metal (think about it), but when it’s done right the results are usually brilliant. With three lengthy tracks at their disposal this one-man act wastes no time in getting things all dark, dank, fucked up and yet strangely beautiful – like an epic battle between PARADISE LOST, BURZUM, and a less convoluted AGALLOCH. Really excellent stuff that takes its time to develop a vibe and then wrangling and wrestling it into something wholly engaging all the way through, with Varg-like wails, clean and distorted riffs, and hypnotic percussion all blending into something very melancholic and personal. Judging by the morose nature of their music its clear that in LYRINX’s world the guy never gets the girl, the glass is always half empty, and the light at the end of the tunnel is only an oncoming train.

After the majesty of LYRINX’s portion things take a slight dip in quality as Aussies ELYSIAN BLAZE present their sole contribution here – a 12 minute long Funeral/Drone Doom piece where Black Metal is utilized more in essence than in substance. The dip in quality is minor though, and overall I found this mammoth track quite bearable, and that’s saying a lot for an avid hater of most things Doom-related. At times early ABRUPTUM (in terms of the incessant use of echo/reverb and seemingly directionless riffing), at times AHAB (hulking, dark riffs, subterranean howling), the track is quite adept at invoking a very dreary mood. It’s not very exciting or dynamic, but then again it wasn’t meant to be, now was it?

Portuguese act D.O.R. (Death Overcomes Reality) closes out the split on a so-so note, their 4 tracks never quite matching the ethereal brilliance of those of LYRINX or the gloominess of ELYSIAN BLAZE. They are OK, though, and if you like fellow Portuguese misery merchants ARS DIAVOLI (get their demo!), then you’ll like this. Raw guitars, moaned vocals and very little melody is what thy are about, but the tender instrumental breaks are really good, finely toeing the line between a more demure NEUROSIS and new ALCEST, which never hurts.

Overall a very good split and one where all the contributing bands are excellent at best or decent at worst. If you fancy Doom, Drone, and all-out depro Black Metal this split will sate all your miserable needs. Calling it a “soundtrack to suicide” would be too cheesy (not to mention emo...), but it’s not far off. Great stuff! See – happiness is a thing of the past...  

(Online December 12, 2008)

Neil Pretorius



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