A panorama more deplorably desolate no human imagination can conceive
In December 2013, Naturmacht Production released Immersion, the debut album of Depressive/Atmospheric Black Metal Band Depicting Abysm from St. Petersburg, Russia. Behind Depicting Abysm are the two musicians A (all instruments/Programming) and K (vox), both known for their other project, Epitimia. Reducing the names shows just perfectly what Immersion is about: The individual is reduced to nothing in the face of the overwhelming, endless ocean that is as beautiful as deadly.
The sea is centre point of attention in the four songs on Immersion, starting with the instrumental opener “On the Waterfront”. Only eight minutes long, it is by far the shortest song on this album. Main source of inspiration, according to the band, was Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “Descending into the Maelström” (1841) and the poems of Russian writer Semyon Nadson (who is, I am afraid, not well known outside Russia). Depicting Abysm try to approach a difficult theme with their music – and succeed. They create a dense atmosphere not only with the sounds of waves and storm in the background, but also through their music that lets you think of pale green hills under a heavy grey sky, defenceless at the mercy of the stormy sea. In terms of speed, Immersion stays mostly calm; many parts satisfy through the slow severity that is boosted very carefully into mid tempo. Always present in the background are the noises of the sea, and sometimes the music just becomes part of those natural sounds. Originality is, unfortunately, not given in the songwriting, but Depicting Abysm is able to hold the mood over 42 minutes.
The particular songs themselves concern with thoughts and feelings of three people, all connected to the sea: a sailor (“Le Mariniste”) whose fate depends on the sea; a painter, trying to put the sublime sea on canvas (“Descent”); and a poet (“Anxious Water”) fascinated by the rough sea. Singer K changes between typical moaning DSBM-screams and –cries and deeper growls, but he manages never to overdo the screams, so they really fit well into the music – and therefore into the picture Depicting Abysm is painting with Immersion. No complaints here.
Overall, Immersion is a solid made and delivered debut that gets to me rather through my imagination that sound. If you don’t need high-speed blast beats all the time, give it a try! On the downside, Immersion does get a bit dull after a while: the riffs sound very similar, and sometimes it is hard to know where one song ends and the next one starts. If you need a soundtrack to your daydream taking place in an old Poe-inspired xylograph, Depicting Abysm gladly delivers!
1. On the Waterfront
3. Le Mariniste
4. Anxious Waters
Total running time: 42:00
*Quote: Edgar Allen Poe: A Descent into the Maelström.