Profetus - _As All Seasons Die_
(Weird Truth Productions, 2014)
by: Chaim Drishner (9.5 out of 10)
If Profetus are supposed to be some kind of a rip-off band of Skepticism, I do not care one bit; for all I care they could have been a Skepticism cover band and I'd still listen to them. So rare, majestic and divine is the sound of Skepticism (especially on their earlier recordings), that whomever manages to reproduce that particular sound and so accurately execute that godforsaken, dismal sonic grandeur -- is someone I will be wanting to hear what he's got to say, or play, or both.

_As All Seasons Die_ is pure poetry. The texts, dealing with the passing seasons and the emotional burden their bleakness brings, are, again, pure poetry. Some texts are cited by a lamenting and somber, clear yet grave/grieving male voice; a narrator of macabre bed-time stories of sorts. These spoken verses would remind you of My Dying Bride's vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe's performance on the band's masterwork _Turn Loose the Swans_; these dispassionate vocals are probably even darker than the growls and certainly more insidious in their coldness and apathetic execution, and the acute pessimism it produces in turn.

There are, in addition to the marvelous poetic texts, also some phenomenally beautiful nature-themed photographs in black and white and other, mostly cold colors. How appropriate. These artistically looking shoots of nature in all its gloomy glory, are major mood-setters, as they carry the listener, just before he/she hits the play button, right into the heart of the album's general mood and its concept: demise and rebirth, cyclical perpetuity, emotional darkness -- and other jolly good stuff.

There are four tracks representing all seasons, but the stark resemblance of three tracks (excluding the completely different introductory first track that represents Spring) to one another makes it impossible to discern between the seasons, as the music remains pretty much the same when either Summer, Autumn or Winter enter stage. But because the music is so beautiful, you forget all about the track division, and just let yourself immerse in this album's tangible, silky pessimism, drifting away, carried by the currents of malignant lullabies.

It seems like every season, in the eyes of Profetus, has got an inherent negative factor; what blooms, eventually rots; what flourishes, is doomed for its fleeting nature; all life is a victim of time, all life is terminal, succumbing to the elements that cyclically, perpetually hammer all living form -- flora and fauna alike -- into a pulp of decaying matter, in due time. Because wherever you may look, this album is the purest form of sonic negativity.

The music, ah, the music! _As All Seasons Die_ has captured the perfect essence of the term 'funeral'; if this music is not the ideal soundtrack to the perfect cinematic funeral procession, then I wouldn't know, for the life of me, what a funeral procession actually sounds like, and so wouldn't you.

The tribal / ritualistic fashion by which the music is played, meaning an overpowering drumming using what sounds like a pretty big kettle drum and an exceptionally dominant set of keyboards, makes it less 'metal' and more of a dark neoclassical / religious music of sorts. The electric guitars are often buried so deep in the mix, behind the drums and the organ keyboards, that occasionally they are virtually inaudible. All they do, most of the time, is serve as some sort of black background blur, adding depth to the melodies.

But it seems the music is even darker when not tainted fully by the metallic ingredients. Just a kettle drum and some sinister keyboards. Imagine that. Of course, the aforementioned Skepticism have done just that, in that good old Finnish fashion, on their couple of first albums. That's probably also why both _StormCrowFleet_ and _Lead and Aether_ are the most revered Skepticism albums (or at least they should be), especially by those who like the dirty, muffled, semi-underground, under-produced sound of both albums, and in particularly that of the debut.

Profetus' _As All Seasons Die_ is to funeral doom what Ride for Revenge's _King of Snakes_ is/was for black metal. They are both extremely ritualistic in nature, very drum and keyboard-driven, more tribal and ceremonial than metal, and both are very unorthodox in their approach to music -- and eventually sound almost like nothing out there, in the sonic habitat of each band.

Even though this is my first experience with these Finnish funeral merchants, this album has definitely stirred an appetite for the band's back catalogue, the entire discography even; if the band's older material is only half as good as the music contained within _As All Seasons Die_ , that alone should suffice to initiate a hunt to obtain the band's previous works, simply because the music on _As All Seasons Die_ is beyond amazing.

The bottom line: if you like the sound of early Skepticism and would like to put your hands on a work of art -- an artifact that is almost perfect in every facet: thematically, lyrically, visually and musically -- then this album is indeed something you must own and be proud of that.


(article published 16/10/2014)

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