Below the Crevices is Australian black metal band The Crevices Below's debut full length album. The play on words between the band name and the album title almost made it feel cheesy with the attempt to sound smart, but seeing how band mastermind Dis Pater's other band, Midnight Odyssey has received critical acclaim, has led me to give this band at least a few serious listens.
And how wrong I was when I constantly and consciously delayed listening to the album. Despite the black metal label that is usually applied to The Crevices Below, what is present on Below the Crevices is mostly a dreamy soundscape, often leaving listeners with an odd sense of calm (though it could very well be just the ominous calm before the storm, even if the storm eventually does not arrive). Opening title track Below the Crevices sees mastermind Dis Pater creating a nice ambience, sounding as if one were transported somewhere deep in the nature, and even as the lead guitar comes in, it remains soothing and melodic, helping listeners to lay back and relax. Without any warning, the band goes into a black metal section, but instead of coming across with the usual aggression and bleakness, the melody behind the drums is mostly melancholic, and the keyboards shroud the music in a thick layer of fog, and at times even takes over as the lead instrument, driving the music forward.
The focus of this album though, seems to be on the instrumentation and the usage of these instruments to create the ambience, and songs like The Tombs of Subterranea and Whispers of Sorrow are good displays of this. Dis Pater also makes use of his vocals as another instrument on the album, often switching different vocal styles accordingly to suit the mood of the music, ranging from whispers to soothing clean vocals to an almost death metal-styled growl. For example, his clean vocals on A Grand Cavernous Awakening, with growls layered behind makes the song sound almost haunting, yet emotional at the same time. The band's influences on the album are also obvious throughout, with the keyboards on The Tombs of Subterranea sounding as if it could easily come off an Electric Wizard album, with the doom and somewhat psychedelic feel to them. The intro to Whispers of Sorrow even brings to mind those recent Satanic Warmaster album-closing tracks, and provide an overall nice touch to the album, though the music here is considerably more dynamic, and Trapped in Suicidal Depths provide some gothic moments.
Unlike traditional or atmospheric black metal albums, The Crevices Below's Below the Crevices has managed to capture that ambient aspect of black metal extremely well, easily putting a listener into a deep sleep with its melodies and relaxing atmosphere, and is a good choice of album for one looking to simply sit back and relax, yet retain that element of black metal in the music at the same time. This is atmospheric black metal done right.
Originally written for http://www.heavymetaltribune.com/