Subrosa - More Constant Than the Gods (2013)Release ID: 8161
A band often talked about in hushed tones, Subrosa occupied a rarefied atmosphere in the world of doom. I have not heard anywhere near enough of them to place them in the same high regard as I have often heard them described, yet it is clear from the few listens that I have been giving to More Constant Than the Gods that these guys had a real knack for writing some obscure yet inherently wonderful music.
My first parallel with Subrosa must be Messa just on the levels of sheer majesty of sound alone. Their ability to combine, but not necessarily blend or at times mix elements of drone with pangs of psychedelia and stoner doom is key to the success of Subrosa’s penultimate full length release. Not making any extra special effort to let all these elements sit perfectly in unity alongside each other, the structure of songs have a Neurosis-like discomfort to them. Just listen to that ugly blues guitar on Affliction and tell me it does not make you itch, even just a bit.
At the same time, as well as this removal of the listener from their comfort zone, the album offers up some surreal beauty in almost every track. Violins, cellos, flutes, clarinets and pianos combine with the more familiar guitars, drums and bass to offer a spectrum of tactile layers to those wise enough to allow the full experience of More Constant Than the Gods to fully embrace them. Those alternative, disharmonic and at times sluggish vocals were an initial issue for me, but in all honesty I could not see any other style fitting anywhere near as well after multiple listens.
There is more here than just some crushingly heavy riffs and mournful atmospheres. There is some genuine anguish shared here that is heavier than any of the mighty riffs the band can muster. You have many layers to pick away at here dear listener and this is an album that takes time to get to know. The rewards for the time spent are nothing short of amazing though. More Constant Than the Gods will make you work for it’s treasures though. This is one shipwreck that you will need to take more than one dive on to truly appreciate its barren husk.
With this, their third full-length release, Subrosa have put out an album of half a dozen towering megaliths of sound that really capture the essence of what Doom is all about. This is no hackneyed rip-off of all the great bands that have proceeded them, Subrosa truly do have a unique sound. Titanic, yet fresh-sounding riffs form the basis of their sound, overlayed with sometimes slightly off-key elements, such as some of the vocals and the violin, which have a disconcerting effect on the listener. All this, coupled with thought-provoking lyrics, ensure that, although most of the tracks clock in at over ten minutes, they never become boring.