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Emotive Funeral Doom on Slow’s “VI-Dantalion”

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I caught myself laughing the first time I put on VI-Dantalion, the new record by atmospheric funeral doom duo Slow. Not because the music on the record is funny, but due to my sheer exhilaration at how the band had chosen to begin this next statement in their career. It was that kind of unguarded, involuntary laugh that leaps up from your chest when you’ve been so stunned, when you’re responding out of such utter disbelief at whatever’s just happened, that all other possible reactions immediately eliminate themselves.

With “Descente,” the album’s opening track, Slow declare their return by forgoing a simple kicking in of the front door — they implode and collapse the whole damn house around you. Go ahead and see what that feels like for yourself with our exclusive full-album premiere.

At a “mere” four minutes and 43 seconds, “Descente” is as concise of an overture as Slow have ever provided. The first few vulnerable twinkles of piano soon find themselves swept away by a floor tom cannon blast, in turn heralding the initial salvo of vocalist, guitarist, and drummer Déhà’s imperious, full-chested guttural roar. His recognizable rumbling, mucous-laden and distended, is a unifying hallmark across his catalog as Slow — a flapping standard signifying a triumphant return two years after 2017’s genre landmark V-Oceans.

On VI-Dantalion, Déhà and bassist/lyricist Lore channel much of what sets Slow up to be such a captivating listen. The space between the downbeats trembles with sustained chords and blanketing textures that tilt the songs towards the harrowing, the majestic, or equal helpings of both, punctuated by the occasional offbeat tom or kick deployment. Déhà’s ascetic drumming is an eternal exercise in the type of self-control required not to overplay despite having so much room in which to potentially do so. Given tempos in which each note holds so much weight, and after the experience of all their prior full-length records, Slow are in full control over that which makes their music so evocative, forceful and successful.

Slow will release VI-Dantalion on November 8 with Aural Music on vinyl and CD. Pre-order the record now on Bandcamp.

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