East London’s Poseidon keep the dials tuned resolutely to melancholic on Prologue, their leviathan 4-track debut, which forms the first part of what will be called The Medius Chronicle. Yep – another doom metal record with a grandiose overarching concept!
We’ll be honest, on first listen-through we didn’t think we were going to like Prologue. Opener, “The Beginning The End The Colony” seemed needlessly ponderous and lumbering, like a less-threatening Neurosis; maybe too loose and sparse to justify their claims of ‘exploring vast sonic landscapes’. But, settled down with a better set of speakers and some peace and quiet, our second appraisal couldn’t have been more different!
Okay, so the drip feed of the 13-minute opener does need your full attention. It is dependent on it, actually. Give in and it yields billowing walls of fuzz, mournful wrenching guitar lines and (on the opener) a stirring vocal performance that starts off as Ozzy and finishes in anguished black metal yelps. That’s right, Poseidon have an excellent vocalist in their arsenal.
So, “The Beginning The End The Colony” is the gatehouse. Beyond it lies “Mother Mary of Scorn”, a boldly exposed piece of open-tuned acoustic guitar playing that is eventually flanked by woozy e-bow melodies and little touches of Rhodes piano. Then Poseidon drop. They reveal their full palette and what a palette it is! If anything, Prologue gets stronger and stronger as it’s run time passes. In their biog they reference not just the usual suspects but Pink Floyd and 16 Horsepower too , they sure ain’t kidding!
There are other British bands – not least OHMSS – doing the same kind of thing right now. But do they make you feel like Poseidon do? Do they conjure pictures of desolate shores and doomed ships being swallowed by icy black seas? Do they fizz and grind with dangerous looseness and broiling unpredictability? Hell no! For the most part, they’re as safe as a platonic friendship and that’s not how you’d aptly describe the tumultuous sounds of Poseidon.
Doom Metal does what it says on the tin and make no mistake, Prologue is a melancholic, gloomy ride for the most part and you shouldn’t expect any of the snappy songwriting tics of modern metal. But, as with the best of atmospheric music, it’s less about the individual song and more about adventurous spirit and immersive atmosphere. That’s exactly what Poseidon give you and with a suitably high end production job they could become even more. 7/10
Prologue is released on 21st July 2017 via Ripple Music