Station Dysthymia - _Overhead, Without Any Fuss, the Stars Were Going Out_
(Solitude Productions, 2013)
by: Chaim Drishner (8.5 out of 10)
_Overhead, Without Any Fuss, the Stars Were Going Out_ (_OWAFtSWGO_?), the second album by this unheralded Russian group of four anonymous musicians, is probably -- together with Abstract Spirit's _Theomorphic Defectiveness_ -- the most interesting musical offering of the year 2013 when compared to the other albums released by the very productive label Solitude Productions. Among the plethora of inconsequential Gothic doom and other melodic and mostly uninspired doom albums, this album whose name I shall not repeat (one of the longest titles in the history of metal?) shines like a black diamond with a pulsating bright core, overshadowing almost entirely the other dozen or more releases Solitude has generously bestowed upon me.

If to judge only upon what's been offered to the world by Solitude Productions, 2013 has been a very dull year for doom metal specifically; but once you choose quality over quantity, suffice to say a couple of brilliant Solitude Productions releases have more than compensated for the overall lack of quality.

These two aforementioned albums, namely Station Dysthymia's second opus and Abstract Spirit's above mentioned masterpiece -- both by Russian bands, both offering a very different and alien sound to the masses -- have got another common factor in the form of Abstract Spirit's band members appearing in the recording as guest musicians (mainly additional vocals and synthesizers), but make no mistakes here: Station Dysthymia's sophomore album is nothing like the music of Abstract Spirit -- not even close.

Instead, this relatively unknown band of four offer a very different musical landscape, embodied especially in the album's monumental first track, a monster of a song titled "A Concrete Wall": 35 minutes of dystopian soundscapes of total nihilism, industrial dehumanization and urban decay you could actually feel hitting you right in the face, with their foul, hot stench, strange, almost psychedelic leanings, guitar effects and strumming that correspond with shoegaze and post-rock-ish etiquette, droning high-pitched and primitive "solos" and spoken, often processed, almost militarized vocals chanting over and over again how fucked we all are and that we should embrace the End of Times and all that.

The atmosphere is suffocating and raw, and the 35 minutes of that first track (out of the 72 minutes of total playing time) are the most interesting thing this album has got to offer; some bizarre, unsettling post-apocalyptic hymn to all that is decaying and rotting away, played in a very slow, held back, manner, conjuring sinister landscapes, sentiments of mystery and dark emotions of despair.

Those who appreciate the sound of Dolorian's monumental self titled album must check out this record, or even just that very first track, for the rest of the album comprises mediocre, if effective, funeral doom of sorts. Although it shares the same velocity with that of the opening track, it is far removed both in aesthetics and originality from it, ultimately sounding nothing like the intimidating, ritualistic and dark "A Concrete Wall".

_Overhead, Without Any Fuss, the Stars Were Going Out_ (here, I did it again; I actually wrote the whole damn album title again...) has taken me by total surprise for being so good and captivating as it is, and for embracing a unique sound and style rarely heard in the underground circles: grey and lifeless music, mind numbing and soul crushing with its sonic portrayal of an absolute hopelessness and doom. Station Dysthymia could have easily released a single track album comprising of that first, 35-minutes long track and get all the praise it deserves -- instead they had to slightly ruin it with additional (and totally redundant, for that matter) three tracks of average funeral doom that have got absolutely nothing to do with the sombre magnificence of the opening song.

Overall, this album is a great newcomer and one of 2013's best offerings. Check out "A Concrete Wall" on the band's Bandcamp site -- it will blow your fucking mind!


(article published 23/12/2013)

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