REVIEW: Escaping Aghartha – Oceanic Womb

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Raise your hand if you want an atmospheric black/doom metal album about climate change.

Now raise both arms and wiggle them around if you want it to specifically be about the plight of ocean acidification and warming. Escaping Aghartha hit me up on Twitter to check out their new album Oceanic Womb, an epic 80-minute long concept album that is both a work of mourning and a call to action.

Now I can see some of you running away at the word “atmospheric,” but the ambience here is more focused on stormy, crashing lines and textures. The best example of this on the album is the instrumental track “Yearly Hundred Year Storm,” with almost Pelican-esque textures and intensity.

The opening title track comes crashing in with a combo of heavy, pounding guitars and folkish sung lines before developing into some slow ‘n heavy caveman riffage and grunts. While I’m still discussing the title track, you should be warned that there are very few songs on here under 6 minutes, but each track flits between multiple moods, motives, and textures. Things very rarely become one-note, and Avery Dart shows himself to be a pretty talented composer.

There are plenty of galloping black metal strains on this album as well,  and crushing doomy weight like in “Aphotic Trench,” which reminds me a lot of Devin Townsend’s more crushing sections. Each track has something to enjoy about it, to the point where it’s hard for me to try and pick out favorites, though “Aphotic Trench,” “Yearly Hundred Year Storm,” and “Starving Corals” are tracks I keep coming back to. I’d definitely recommend checking this album out and keeping this band on your radar. My only real big complaint/advice is that one might want to be more cautious throwing the word “rape” around in their song titles, as I know plenty of people who more or less count that as an automatic no, for good reason, when it comes to the art they consume.

Beyond that one nitpick, though, Oceanic Womb very pleasantly surprised me and I’m definitely going to be checking out the other work by Escaping Aghartha. Keep up the good work.

4/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell

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