Otolith, The - Folium Limina (2022)Release ID: 41018
SubRosa were one of my favourite 21st century bands, their three albums released in the 2010s being among the very best doom metal from that decade, More Constant Than the Gods in particular lodging itself very near the summit of my 2010s metal list. So it was with great disappointment that I learned of their disbanding in 2019 and the apparent loss of a singular-sounding metal band. However, three years later, in this winter of 2022, the bulk of Subrosa's members return with a new album under the name The Otolith, to much rejoicing from yours truly. Thankfully Folium Limina retains all the ingredients that made SubRosa such a compelling listen, be it Levi Hanna's thick, crunchy doom metal riffs, Sarah Pendleton's seductive vocals or the atmospheric and unsettling violin work of Sarah and Kim Pack overlaying proceedings. As with the classic albums, the tracks all clock in at around the ten-minute mark, so give themselves plenty of time to develop without becoming self-indulgent and overstaying their welcome.
Where Otolith differ from Subrosa is that they lean more heavily on post-metal / atmospheric sludge metal songwriting and it's reliance on building atmosphere, rather than a straight-up doom metal approach. They also feature harsh male death doom vocals as provided by bassist/vocalist Matt Brotherton who is also bassist and vocalist for atmospheric sludge crew Huldra, and I am guessing his presence in the band may be the influence for a more post-metal style of songwriting. It also feels like the classical strings take a more prominent role during Folium Limina's run time, often being pushed right up front rather than acting as a provider of atmospheric layering as was it's main purpose in SubRosa. These differences are not at all jarring however, and The Otolith are very much a continuance of the sterling work begun by SubRosa and I would be very surprised if any fans of the latter didn't enjoy Folium Limina as it still contains those idiosyncrasies that made SR such a compelling and singular doom metal act. Personally, I don't think it is quite up there with the very best of SubRosa, especially More Constant Than the Gods (not much is though), but it is certainly a strong follow-up to SR's final album, For This We Fought the Battle of Ages and is a very welcome continuation of the SubRosa legacy.
Doom Metal (conventional)
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Atmospheric Sludge Metal
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