Beyond Black Void - _Desolate_
(Marche Funebre Productions / Stygian Crypt Productions, 2005)
by: Quentin Kalis (8.5 out of 10)
Beyond Black Void is a project of Stijn van Cauter, who has numerous other projects under his belt, including The Ethereal and Until Death Overtakes Me -- all variations on funeral / doom / ambience. The proliferation of projects might explain why this CD, recorded in 2003, is the one and only release of Beyond Black Void to date. BBV caught the attention of Marche Funebre Productions, a sub-label of Stygian Crypt which focuses on funeral doom creations; and it goes without saying that it has been re-mastered.

Although I have yet to hear the full litany of his numerous projects, Beyond Black Void must surely rank as his most minimalist outing to date, taking the concept to ridiculous, yet paradoxically logical extremes. Despite possessing a playing time of just less than seventy minutes, there are only three tracks of 23, 31 and 15 minutes respectively!

The mournful wailing of a lead guitar forms the basis of his songs, but with approximately ten seconds passing between the striking of each note, it proceeds at nothing more than a glacial pace. Underlying the lead guitar is a rhythm guitar and bass, but the slow pace and high distortion result in something approaching noise. Vocals are located at the ultra-deep end of the spectrum, drawn out and low in the mix, resulting in vocals that can be overlooked against a wash of distortion. The same tempo is maintained throughout all the songs, but that's the idea: any variations would interrupt the hypnotic effect.

The overall result is a monumental testament to minimalist funeral doom, possessing an inherent majesty all too easily overlooked. This CD will not appeal to the instant gratification MTV generation, nor will it appeal to those whose doom collection contains a disproportionate amount of "beauty and the beast" vocals. Indeed, it's not even something I would choose to listen to regularly. But when I do -- and I shall definitely be listening to this again in the future -- I will appreciate every drawn out second.


(article published 15/8/2007)

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