Chapter I : Delirium
posted on 12/2007 By:
Winter has begun to snake its way into the Bay Area once again. Of course it’s a far, far cry from the eyeball-freezing, frozen-wind-whipping winters of my youth in Ohio, but it’s a noticeable shift in climate nonetheless: plenty of dormant, leafless trees scratching the gray-gloomy skyline as swelling clouds prepare to dump a seemingly endless amount of cold, numbing rain. It’s essentially the only time of year in my area where the hippy-dippy, shiny-happy-people-holding-hands actually walk about with glum, sour faces…and I love it (you’re as cuddly as a cactus; you’re as charming as an eel, Mr. Wuensch).
So, with winter’s grand, soaking entrance at hand, I find myself pretty excited about the prospect of spending some quality time on the considerable amount of nature trails in my area without having to share with the humancattle that normally pack them when the weather’s more forgiving. This, my friends, is when I love listening to funeral doom. And the formula laid down on Colosseum’s debut record, Chapter 1: Delirium, truly sounds like an ideal candidate for companionship for my wet, wintry days in Muir Woods in the very near future -- directly alongside bands such as Thergothon, Catacombs (and its precursor, Hierophant), Tyranny, Asunder, Skepticism, Nortt, Ahab, et al; the list continues to stretch as the genre slowly perseveres.
But, as any fan of this genre knows, it’s quite difficult to play at such a crawling gait and keep things interesting, so any funeral band worth their salt figures out a way to pepper the plod with something that’s actually capable of twining itself about the listener’s gray matter. Colosseum does so in two distinct ways. First, much like the abovementioned Tyranny and Skepticism, this band relies heavily on keyboard atmospherics. But where Tyranny relies chiefly on floaty, ethereal keys, and Skepticism on those that produce organ and Conan-esque horns, Colosseum chooses to mix things up a bit more. We hear moog moments during “The Gate of Adar”, some (slightly jarring) tinkling reminiscent of elder Emperor on “Weathered”, generous amounts of church organs layered behind the excellent “Corridors of Desolation” and “Aesthetics of the Grotesque”, and even a quiet span during “Saturnine Vastness” that conjures thoughts of a paused RPG game (check inventory, equip warhammer, drink potion, aaaaaand carry on).
The second differentiating element employed is Colosseum’s copious use of adeptly crafted, weepy guitar licks. Every tune here features some moment of grief-stricken noodling that really adds a beautifully bereaved bitterness to the well-traveled formula. This gives the whole of the record a bit of a Doom:VS flavor, only with a little less of a gothic feel. These maudlin moments, when coupled with the aforementioned keys and Juhani’s beastly, deep vocals really help to better stick these tunes to listeners’ ribs during each return visit -- just what the doctor ordered in terms of a quality funeral doom release.
Chapter 1: Delirium sure as hell ain’t gonna kick your next backyard bbq into full gear, but it’s a consummate accomplice for the coming winter months. Definitely worthy for fans of the sloooooooooow, and well equipped for any endeavor that involves solace, solitude, and self-reflection.
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