Review by Sonny for Drown - Subaqueous (2020)
Markov Soroka, the main man behind Drown, is also the driving force behind atmo-black projects Aureole and Krukh as well as genre-bending Tchornobog. Drown is the banner under which Markov releases his funeral doom and Subaqueous is the second album he has released as Drown, following 2014's Unsleep.
It features only two tracks, but eack clocks in at over twenty minutes, so you are unlikely to feel short-changed. The album does have a concept as such, track one, Mother Cetacean, relates the sorrowful tale of a grief-stricken mother who has lost her son to the sea and, unable to live with her grief, decides to join him by wading out into the water and being dragged down to the watery depths, accompanied by a grieving whale whose young have also succumbed to the ocean's crushing weight. Second track, Father Subaqueous, tells of the ghost of the young man as he is imprisoned in the ocean's bottom and his horror as he perceives his mother's lifeless body dropping down to join him in his lightless grave.
The album does have a moderately quick tempo for funeral doom (although, obviously, these things are relative) yet it is still heavingly heavy, with thundering drums, cavernous vocals and distorted riffs, but there is also a lighter side to it with the chiming, melodiousness of some of the overlaid guitar work, especially on Mother Cetacean.
Markov Soroka is extremely adept at creating depressive and dark atmospheres and here he is aided by the production which was handled by Esoteric's Greg Chandler and successfully invokes the irresistible nature of the tidal ebbing and flowing of the oceans and the sheer weight of the countless fathoms of water, pressurizing the depths into a suffocating, airless doom.