Originally released in 2009, Coronation of the Black Sun is the debut album from Finnish funeral doom outfit Profetus. This reissue, by Weird Truth Productions, features not only the full length album – remastered by Dan Lowndes of Resonance Sound Studio – but also Profetus’ 2007 demo Saturnine alongside a bonus live track from 2015.
For fans of the slow and the dreary, Coronation of the Black Sun is a monstrous, yet minimalistic album that will pull you under if you let it—and you certainly should! On the surface, the music is gargantuanly slow and repetitive, but that’s to be expected with funeral doom. The real attraction here is the aching atmosphere. Typically, funeral doom strives for an air of loss and misery – and those feelings are evoked here – but a subtle use of keyboards alongside slight song variations helps to create a more vivid scene.
“Eye of Phosphoros” is a great example. It trudges on like a lost space traveller floating through the empty abyss, eternally directionless and alone. Yet the song blossoms in its second half. Ringing, arpeggiated chords and haunting keys augment that feeling of hopeless wandering, as the space traveller is awed by the unimaginable beauty of the cosmos amid the knowledge of his inevitable doom. Soon swelling organs consume the soundscape and our traveler slowly drifts into the consuming fires of a distant sun and is released into death. How’s that for vivid?!
Even the demo tracks are thick with atmosphere. “Winter Solstice” evokes the first morning of winter, as frost glitters over everything it touches and the sun’s rays reflect the bitter cold; life, nearly frozen, lying at the very fringe of continuation. At times the slow beat of the drums and intermittent crash of cymbals are the only sounds ensuring the song stops short of fading into silence, like a heart slowly beating to keep death at bay. While chords fade into oblivion, resurrected just long enough to fade again, the song suddenly blossoms out of near non-existence and ends on an almost hopeful note. But, whether life or death has prevailed remains uncertain.
One thing is certain, Coronation of the Black Sun is still a worthy listen for those with the patience and/or love for classic Scandinavian funeral doom at its most evocative. 7/10