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Review: Kraken Duumvirate - The Stars Below, the Seas Above
Kraken Duumvirate
The Stars Below, the Seas Above

Label: Silent Future Recordings
Year released: 2020
Duration: 1:02:55
Tracks: 7
Genre: Doom Metal


Review online: November 28, 2020
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
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Rated 4.22/5 (84.44%) (9 Votes)

Kraken Duumvirate are one of the more mysterious acts to come out of Finland. They're supposedly composed of only two members with grand pseudonyms (makes sense, since the band name roughly means Joint Leader Squids), but there's so little information about the project that I can't be certain of that. That air of mystery is clearly what they're aiming for, but pulling that off requires music that evokes it beyond mere posturing, and to their credit, they did so admirably with their past two EPs. I was a bit worried they might lose their touch after nine years of silence, but thankfully, it seems they've used that time to refine their sound and deliver their most arcane and involved work yet.

I see this duo get called Black/Doom a lot, but I always considered their claim to the former tenuous at best. They borrow some elements from more experimental Atmospheric Black Metal, but they lean far more on a heavily atmospheric Doom that borders on Funeral Doom, as is befitting a Finnish act. That said, no one really sounds like this band, and their general sound is kind of hard to describe in spite of how dense and evocative it all is. The proper songs are all long and drenched in mood, relying on shimmering synths and acoustic melodies contrasted with trudging Doom riffs and heavily processed, almost intoned vocals that sound like they're echoing from the depths of some long-forgotten trench in the ocean, all of which come together to create mystical, almost trance-like compositions. This focus on mood does mean that the songs themselves don't always have much shape, and the interludes go on longer than they have any right to, which can interrupt the atmosphere of the album proper. When they have all the pieces together, as they do on the title track and the excellent album closer "Queen, Arise", they deliver an extreme and individual sound that conjures images of dark rituals performed at the edge of forlorn shores in the name of slumbering gods. Fans of the darker, more experimental edge of Doom will want to get their hands on this, as it doesn't get much more alien than this.

More about Kraken Duumvirate...
Review: The Astroglyphs of the Ritual of Deluge (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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