19 April 2024

Stuporous – Asylum’s Lament

Written by: Helena Cedrwydd 
Releasedate:   25-01-2024
Label: Void Wanderer Productions, War Productions

Having listened to Stuporous’ Asylum’s Lament for the very first time, I wanted to know more about this band and their music. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of information, so I’m not familiar with the backstory of the album, except that the release was inspired by “mental disorders” and “true events at the psychiatric facility”. On the other hand, this can also be a positive moment, allowing the imagination to paint its own picture without restrictions. However, from the very first second, you are overwhelmed by a feeling of indescribable melancholy and anxiety, as if you were locked in a frightening, obscure room without windows or doors.

Hopeless and everlasting despair, the triumph of madness over consciousness – these are the main experiences that do not leave you throughout the whole listening. Somehow, magically, the musicians manage to completely capture all my will and attention and not let go until the very end.

The songs, for all their heaviness, are so harmoniously melodic that, had they been arranged differently and not in the metal genre, they could have easily been chosen as soundtracks to an indie horror game about an abandoned psychiatric hospital – or to an art-house film about mental disorders.

The first track, “Parasidious Preludium”, is a kind of preface to subsequent stories. The entire Asylum’s Lament, overall, is reminiscent of an old picture album, and as the listener turns the pages, they’re slowly immersed in the events of past years and seem to be experiencing the stories of fictional – or real, who knows – heroes along with them. From the very first notes, the unhinged cacophony of the piano, intertwined with the gentle melody of the strings, touches to the depths of the soul with its dramatic nature. This is a hopeless plea to be heard.

The second song, “Throne Of Madness”, with its gloomy and solemn atmosphere, evokes strong associations with Triptykon, Celtic Frost and, to some extent, Behemoth. Despite the dense and heavy sound, the track seems to be strangely hypnotizing and calm, putting the listener into a kind of trance. The monotone voice seems to be chanting prayers or spells and summons the spirit of a frightening yet glorious dark mass. The tender and ethereal piano at the end further emphasizes the feeling of unreality.

“Desperation” continues the journey through the dark recesses of the heroes’ memories. This time the vocalist’s voice embodies passion and fury. The oriental grandeur at times and the specific melodic patterns of the guitars arise associations with the early works of the Greek black metal classics like Necromantia and Rotting Christ, while the melancholic keyboards are reminiscent of My Dying Bride from the “The Cry Of Mankind” era.

“Decorating The Willow Tree” track is a mixture of ephemeral, elusive, ideal beauty and a terrifying conflict of reality. A final sentence to a hero condemned to eternal torment. The vocals sound magnificent, frantic – and completely insane, schizophrenic, spilling out pain and denial, inducing the listener to empathize most sincerely. Meanwhile, the mournful horn deepens the inconsolable sadness and the woeful atmosphere of decay.

“Never Let Me Go” – a dense wave of extreme sound deafens and knocks you down; in this piece ferocity of black, dynamic passion of death, depressive melancholy of doom are especially vivid, and all this heavy grandeur is imbued with some distinctive gothic dancing vibes. While some occult atmosphere and ritual darkness, again, evoke strong associations with dark metal, especially Celtic Frost and Triptykon, and, sometimes, the early works of Samael.

“Distorted Echoes” seems to be a kind of respite from the raging passions of the previous tracks. The listener should not be misled by the deceiving joy and festivity of the motif, however – here the kingdom of shadows has finally defeated the last shreds of humanity. Delicate, otherworldly inserts of keyboards and horns, as well as distant whispers in the background, enhance the frightening inevitability of the doom with their pacifying mood.

“The Voice That Made Me Do It”: welcome to your nightmare. Once again, the dark ritual grandeur of vocals, occult eerie choirs, captivating intensive guitar parts and drums, intertwined with gloomy keys and a depressive horn. And on top of all this, the ferocious growls and hysterical screams of the vocalist reign, painting the end of everything with the most grotesque and grandiose colors.

Overall, besides all the above mentioned artists, the atmosphere and mood of Asylum’s Lament reminded me a lot of Morgul’s Sketch Of Supposed Murderer. The ability to captivate the listener until the last, final chord is what seems particularly attractive about this album. Highly recommended to everyone who, like me, might be attracted to the curious amalgam of decaying beauty and repulsive abomination.

Line up:

  • Devi Hisgen – Vocals
  • Floris Velthuis – Guitars, bass, drums, keys
  • Izzy Op De Beeck – Horn

Tracklist

  1. Parasidious Preludium
  2. Throne of Madness
  3. Desperation
  4. Decorating the Willow Tree
  5. Never Let Me Go
  6. Distorted Echoes
  7. The Voice That Made Me Do It

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