Some bands are the absolute purveyors of their respective genre – some to the point where they inevitably become part of a legacy division between ‘who started it?’ in terms of the ‘Godfathers’ of any scene. It became quite tiring as it often detracts from the sheer impression, quality and respective merits of those bands.
Skepticism are one of those bands, purveyors of a scene and arguably the ‘one’ who created the genre of ‘funeral doom’. They are without a doubt one of purest, darkest and most atmospheric bands who have garnered both cult following and legacy status.
Svart Records released Ordeal back in 2015, the first Skepticism album in over 8 years and since then the label have undertaken a series of re-releases from their back catalogue, which have been remastered and includes their most recent 2008 album Alloy. Released earlier in the year on beautiful gatefold sleeve on both blue and black vinyl that also includes the single, 27 minute track Aes, recorded live and originally released on Red Stream back in 1999.
For those who are not already initiated in Skepticism and their atmospheric world of suppressive and immersive doom, then it would be akin to an ambient and haunting soundtrack accompanying the procession of the recently department. Layers of organ and melodic, but no less crushing, guitars merge to form of wall of dystopian and all-encompassing gloom with occasional breaks in the grey skies for uplifting and reflective pieces.
Layers of organ and melodic, but no less crushing, guitars merge to form of wall of dystopian and all-encompassing gloom…
The vocals of Matti Tilaeus provide a contemplative tone delivered with imposing might. The tracks on Alloy are actually some of the shorter in the Skepticism discography and provide for more insightful, but no less absorbing, content. There is less existential pondering than perhaps on Stormcrowfleet or Farmakon, which makes for a more poignant delivery ,and actually could provide a gateway opportunity for persons who wish to commence their dark journey into the world of immersive funeral doom.
With bands such as Evoken, Shape of Despair, Pantheist and nearly every band post 2000 citing Skepticism as an influence, Alloy provides a more directly engaging listen then previous albums, and is an absolute must in the foundations of the genre they helped to create and build.
Alloy provides a ritualistic and meditative approach to music – one feels the music as much as they listen to it and are all consumed by the sheer density of the emotion and atmosphere they project. Quite simply Alloy is as it says; a dense and perfectly formed hybrid of earlier raw Skepticism and the newer refined form – perfectly executed through this remastered delivered by Jaime Gomez Arellano.
Such is the stature of Skepticism that a tribute album Entering The Levitation – A Tribute To Skepticism (features a formidable cover of Aether by fellow Finnish funeral doom maestros Shape of Despair) was released in 2007. This may have proven somewhat pre-emptive, as it was a year before the release of Alloy that is now arguably their most magnum opus to date. This remastered re-release is on highly limited vinyl and as such I’d highly recommend both long-time fans, and those who are seeking a new aural experience, to get one now before you have to trawl Discogs in a year or two and pay three times the release price.
So if you don’t get it now – it’s your funeral.