Concept albums aren’t a new trick but for Poseidon and their epic, sludged-out doom, the concept forms more than one story and instead will be stretched across a multitude of records in order to give the narrative the space it certainly needs. Hailing from London and having been members of many bands over the years, Poseidon have created their own mythology and as such Prologue, by design, is only the beginning.
The record deals with a catastrophic event that pushes humanity to the depths of the ocean where they must start again. Prologue is an expansive journey and one that takes in a great many paths on the way – sweetly strummed acoustics, harsh, painful hardcore and blisteringly heavy doom all make an appearance and while those elements are in stark contrast to each other, it’s testament to the bands experience that they can blend each in deliciously coherent tones.
Opener “The Beginning; The End, The Colony” sets out the scope of the record with crunchy bass tones and fuzzed out guitars building a wall of sound that pummels the senses. Drums start off with slow, deliberate strikes, allowing the momentum to be driven by droning loops of feedback before giving way to cyclic rhythms that hypnotise and draw you in completely while frontman Matthew Bunkell’s affected voice - that almost sounds like he’s being heard from the depths of the ocean- sweeps over all. In these moments Poseidon sound more like a stoner doom band but it’s the aforementioned surrounding elements that give the group that edge over others – as well as the latter portion of the track incorporating a furiously harsh hardcore tinged scream (not unexpected considering Bunkell’s involvement with Light Bearer in the past).
“Mother Mary; Son of Scorn” gives pause for breath with a gorgeous acoustic style that allows a short serenity to break up the despair. Beautifully rendered, the track still has an undercurrent of anger hidden in its passages, not least within the closing refrains of “Don't you think you owe me this..?” which leads succinctly into the captivating rhythms of “Chainbreaker” and it’s smoky guitars.
Closing track “Omega” is a deliciously ominous piece that begins on biblical sermon, a terrifying introduction that serves to ramp up the tension and forges the idea that mankind has been led astray by belief in an unknown and higher power – a common thread in any post-apocalyptic world is the role of religion in bringing about the end and Poseidon run with that in their work. It’s a sixteen minute epic that never rests and within its boundaries are moments of clarity, weight and hope. The final few minutes are truly astounding and while the music swells to soaring riffs, a lone voice rings out in the abyss, all guttural pain, to call to someone at the outer reaches and the end.
Prologue is a fascinating extrapolation of the doom genre into other realms and Poseidon are truly a band to pay attention to. Their planned The Medius Chronicle is off to a wondrous start and only they know where it will terminate.
8.5 / 10
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