Subaqueous – Drown

I’m by no means a big fan of funeral doom metal. I’m definitely an outsider to the genre having heard a few albums here and there but they didn’t do much for me. On Subaqueous though, I’m very impressed. Maybe it’s because the drums are moving at a much faster pace but I was able to connect to this sound instantly. The concept surrounding the album art and music is also really engaging throughout. In his previous album, Unsleep, the unnamed protagonist of the story drowns himself to escape his life and we examine his inner monologue as he sinks to the bottom. Acting as a follow-up of sorts, Subaqueous examines the consequences of the protagonist drowning himself. The first song “Mother Cetacean” is lighter, reflecting the beauty and bio-luminescence of the watery depths. As he sinks deeper and deeper, we can hear the bubbling and labored breathing of the protagonist as he slowly falls into the abyss. The second song “Father Subaqueous” revolves around the jaws of the darkness swallowing the protagonist whole. It’s darker and the murky effects swirl around together creating the impression of fear.

The concept revolves around the idea of drowning in our grief and loss. It’s undoubtedly heavy yet the balance between the playful melodies is what really connects everything together. The lighter moments where we first dive into the depths represent the beauty of life: teeming in a place that should be terrifying. Contrasted together, we see how the crushing water is both scary and gorgeous. The ambient passages and string sections are really beneficial in this respect. They create an atmosphere of limbo where the protagonist is stuck between the beauty and horror of the depths. Even the growling and shrieking of the vocals are distant as if even the terrors of the protagonist fall away to the overwhelming presence of the depths. The album closes on a solemn, slow blend of strings and bubbling. Though the darkness seems to have consumed us, the beauty of the light above us still remains. It’s a philosophically moving piece as we examine what the sinking feeling of grief and loss does to us. In many ways, it feels like what happens if we can’t manage to overcome our grief and finally succumb to the overwhelming waves.

Where Unsleep had violent moments that surfaced where our protagonist seemed to fight against his fears, Subaqueous sees him accepting his fate and slowly coming to terms with his impending death. The album is much more restrained, the heavier moments are drenched in the reverb of the sea. The use of recurring motifs helps guide the album to the inevitable destination of the sea’s bottom. Though mysterious and terrifying, the album also gives us a glimpse into the beauty that’s merged within the darkness. “Subaqueous” is able to transport us to the murky depths of the sea and utterly immerse us.


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I turned my incoherent ramblings on music, anime, and video games into an entire blog.

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