Italy’s Plateau Sigma exist in their own darkened domain, infusing funeral doom with ethereal 70’s rock and their second album, Rituals, is an otherworldly experience that proves doom metal needn’t crush you in order to leave a lasting impression.
It would be remiss not to jump straight into the albums undoubted highlight as the enthralling “Palladion” is a sprawling masterpiece. Unveiling itself as a mix of Jim Morrison-esque spoken word poetry, the funeral doom of Shape Of Despair and the prog rock of Pink Floyd, this beautifully layered epic builds and builds in intensity as waves of crushing riffs and anguished hollering engulf the senses. Outstanding.
Showcasing a riveting balance of ethereal 70’s rock and doom metal at its most visceral, Plateau Sigma avoid the trappings of the life-eroding Thergothen and instead forge positive sounding funeral doom epics (if that’s even possible). Consistently surprising, anyone bemoaning Opeth’s betrayal of their brutal blackened beginnings will appreciate the suffocatingly intense yet progressive mindset on offer here. While not necessarily emerging from the same gene pool as Mikael Akerfeldt and co. the adventurous spirit and desire to take truly ‘heavy’ music into ever expanding realms is ever present in Plateau Sigma’s pitch-black and achingly beautiful songs.
Acting as a somewhat anomaly, “Rituals Part 1” increases the pace, unleashing primal death metal fury and pushing through the doomy smog that envelopes much of this album. It’s a welcome break from the languid pace and the headlong dives into prog rock and very much reminds the listener that Plateau Sigma are a death/doom band at heart.
Hushed tones, delicate sparse rhythms, gregorian-esque chants, pounding doom metal riffs and death metal vocals; all jostle with one another, vying for supremacy without one style ever superseding the other. At its core, Rituals is a primordial yet pensive journey through beauty and the darkest of desires and Plateau Sigma have concocted an album that sounds both ahead of its time and yet exotically ancient. One for the intrepid. 8/10