Jupiterian, São Paulo’s masked quartet, returns with their second full-length release that’s chock full of ugly, industrial doom. Indeed, the title Terraforming fits well here, as the album carries with it a feeling of harsh transformation throughout its six monolithic tracks.
“Matriarch” kicks things off with an airy percussive intro, a characteristic that makes multiple appearances on the album and which grants Terraforming brief instances of calm humanity amidst its raging storm of harsh sounds. The intro quickly gives way to cascading, abrasive chords and a driving bass line, heralding the soundtrack of a haggard sailor, bound to a makeshift raft, lost in the tumultuous churn of a raging sea — it’s both astonishingly violent and abrasively bleak.
On both “Matriarch” and “Unearthly Glow,” abrasive and doomy walls of riffs are topped by eerie lead melodies that are no prettier than the rhythms they ride over. Toward the end of the latter track, tremelo riffs streak forth from the noise, injecting a brief black metal flavor into Terraforming‘s noisy doom atmosphere, and adding yet another layer to Jupiteraian’s colossal sound. “Forefathers” then has a distinct industrial feel with its effect-laden vocals and dreary riffing. Dissonant arpeggios — already a staple of the album at this point — solidify the track’s rotten atmosphere and it’s hard to suppress images of a squalid world blighted by pollution and environmental decay as the song progresses.
The title track provides an interesting segue, consisting of nearly four minutes of ambient noise, atmospheric effects, and no traditional song structure whatsoever. Guitar noise and feedback drift around the speakers, smothered in effect. Shrieked and growled vocals, mixed way to the back, are nearly indistinguishable from the surrounding noise and it works well as a ‘breaker’, but it’s also a blessing that it’s the shortest track on offer.
The back half of Terraforming is marked by closer “Sol,” which opens with a series of lumbering riffs that wouldn’t sound out of place on the slower parts of an Incantation record. The suffocating heaviness eventually develops into more of the discordant riffing and dissonant leads that the rest of the album is built upon but it’s this combination that makes “Sol” an album highlight….and a nightmarish track worth blasting time and again!
Consisting of a delicate balance of both the abrasive and the comfortable, Terraforming is bleak, it’s ugly but it offers brief moments of beauty. Had it meandered meaninglessly for much longer than it does, the album could have become a bore. But, at just under forty minutes, Terraforming is a controlled shock; one that makes for solid background music whilst poisoning an ecosystem or mindlessly plowing a peaceful meadow into unrecognisable chunks of churned earth. Check out Terraforming if you like your doom especially ugly! 8/10