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Album Review: Sidus Atrum – “Spiral of Life”

Dark and melancholic, Sidus Atrum bring forth Black Metal from the Ukraine that evokes the chaos within. Incorporating elements of Doom and Death Metal, “Spiral of Life” reflects an array of emotions that are artfully crafted and displayed by this one-woman project.

There is an eerie calm throughout this album that is further promoted through the cascade of clean vocals and instrumental balance from heaviness to foggy lows that dwell like chilling dew as night falls. Each track is a step forward through a forest-covered mountain ripe with anxiety and dread as the sun falls from the sky, and the sounds of night set in.

“Fading Light” invites us in through its gentle procession. The tranquility of chords being strung ever so lightly ensnares the senses before the harsh vocals break through to bring forth fright. We’re battered by a rainstorm of viciousness and speed before once more dropped into the veil of silence. Light vocals come in like whispers, “voices calling” as if coming at us from every corner of the darkness, eluding to the fear that always sits at the back of our mind. The vocal range on this track alone is divine, as it is performed in rapid succession and slow bursts that truly create atmosphere and emits the energy of a chaotic aura.

 

 

The second track, “Sea of Life” evokes the reminiscence of being left ashore the storm-battered beaches of the beyond. It feels as if we’ve been lost at sea, and perished within the waters, to be washed along the shores of Purgatory for which we now must tread. Vivid imagery of muted grays and pale hue are prominent as heavy instrumentals weigh down upon us like thick mud caked upon our boots. We move along, lifelessly, without purpose or influence searching for the forgotten. Vocals are whispered to us, like a ghostly voice from the beyond that guides our next steps. Strings move from heavy to light to build tension and shift from madness to solitude in simple motion. Steadfast drumming carries us through the gray landscape with bass backing the heaviness and building on feelings of loss, and hopelessness.

Partway through we meet the “Breath of Agony” that is literally carried in on breaths. It provokes a sense of anxiety, as we do not know if the breathing is to bring calm or promote fear until it is unleashed upon is un a fury of rapid double-kickers and neck-breaking riffs. Demonic screams rupture the instrumental arsenal, carrying in sheer madness on beats of wrath and intensity. There is an myriad of instrumental talent and vocal range displayed on this track that is flawlessly executed from beginning to end, that still truly takes the time to build layer after layer of uniqueness and ensure each piece gets its time in the spotlight.

Toward the end, we enter “Farewell,” and enjoy the airiness that greets us, as if a moment of peace urges us onward. This melody starts light, and free as if to put us off from the darkness and depression surrounding our beings. However, it is not without the Metal chords that rupture our soul, splitting us with sharpened claws to remind us of the darkness before us. Growls are deepened and energized by the death metal music that backs them through vicious drums and chaotic guitar work. The mixture of musical lights and heaviness in this track is prominent yet seamless in their implementation. Vocals grind in a mix of clean and harsh that seem mismatched yet in perfect harmony, like the shadow of darkness against the high sun, resulting in a perfect blend of emotional intensity we may feel when cornered.

“Rain Brings Your Voice” is a steady track that doesn’t bother with the light-hearted intros like the others. It gives us a solid beat to move from, with intense vocals that bring both screams and clarity in their performance. A dark, hollow speech evokes melancholy and dread as the dragging riffs on this track feel like claws tearing into your flesh. As you try to move forward, more hands reach out, digging their nails into your skin and pulling your back. Tears stain your weary cheeks, and you feel burdened by the intense emotions plaguing you. Gentle raindrops bring atmospheric shift in this powerful track, dancing along the guitar strings like feathers on the wind that once more become rigid and tainted with woe. This track provides a punch of hatred and fear from end to end, allowing only a brief pause of momentary reflection before once more pulling us back into sadness.

The final track is “Regression,” and is the shortest on the album. Chimes ring in alongside harmonious chords boasting the essence of terror in their wake. Guitars soon rival the chords, stringing along some unseen foe as the bass and drums enter the battle. Once more we are greeted with the harsh strings as vocals enter and keep a steady melody of frenzy before dropping into a barrage of speed and relentlessness. There is no saving grace in this track like the others, it ends on a note of dread and unknown. Did we survive? We were even alive to begin with…

In all, this album is well-rounded and brilliantly produced. There is a talented display of both vocals and instrumental knowledge and their range that allows for the building of atmosphere from one track to the next. However, I found some musical moments to be rather stagnant, as if lingering on the same melody for far too long before moving to the next piece. I absolutely loved the atmosphere on each track, and how vividly I could imagine the scenarios in my mind that were so easy to create with the sound before me. This album is an easy addition to the collection of anyone who is a fan of atmospheric Black/Death Metal.

Release Date: March 11th, 2022
Label: Kvlt and Kaos Productions
Rating: 7/10
Track Listing:
1.) Fading Light
2.) Sea of Life
3.) Breath of Agony
4.) Farewell
5.) Rain Brings Your Voice
6.) Regression

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