Vera : This is a beautiful album to sit back and relax, close your eyes and be led away on enchanting sounds; the caressing purification that eminent doom metal has to offer. You can see it by only looking at the grey artwork: a desperate, helpless individual; bare trees in a disconsolate scenery; everything breathes melancholy. This is a one-man-project of Norwegian Marius Strand who composed everything and recorded it at his home studio: vocals (profound grunts as well as clean, drawling vocals), electric and acoustic guitars, piano, bass, drums and programming.
It all started in Autumn 2004. Marius left Nyctanthous and got the idea to create calm, melancholic music from then on. Yet it had to preserve a certain degree of brutality. With proper doom/death metal as result, nothing new, but this 'From Below' ended up being a must for every fan of Opeth, Anathema, Draconian and Saturnus. His music surely had some potential, which is what Marius experienced when he spread the fourteen minutes long 'Her Withering Petals' over the internet. The positive response caught the attention of Aftermath and that label released the debut album 'From Below' in January 2007. Five extended doom epics, of which three exceeded a length of ten minutes. Delicious!
The songs are connected to each other through a concept story about ruined relations and what follows. 'From Below' opens up with obscure sounds and acoustic, soaring guitars. Ponderous doom riffs join in and are relished with low, powerful grunts. Later on we get some clean vocals too, with a dreamy tinge and a bit along the lines of Anathema and even Radiohead. Acoustic guitars and common vocals are featured in 'Sisyphean'. The thirteen minutes long 'The Triumphant Beast' has this alternating heavy doom patterns with softer fragments as well, when instrumentation and vocals have an introvert nature. Piano notes create a contemplative atmosphere in 'Escape Of The Dove', a song Marius dedicates to his girlfriend. The opus magnum of this impressive debut is the track that got famous on internet. 'Her Withering Petals' offers fifteen minutes long marvellous, fluttering guitar lines, full of echoes and reverbs, even the name Simon & Garfunkel crossed my mind when hearing those close harmony vocals, but these floating, slurring sounds have a proper counterpoise by vigorous outbursts of heavy doom riffs and ruthless grunts. This was labelled as progressive doom metal and I completely agree with that. Highly recommended to get you through these dark winter days!