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Jupiterian – Protosapien Award winner

by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 14 July 2020, 12:48 PM

JUPITERIAN is a Brazilian Death Doom/Sludge band from Sao Paulo, formed in 2013. “Protosapien,” is their third full length album; they also have two EP’s under their belt.  The band plays a type of doom that is especially draining, mixed with mountain heavy sludge and an atmosphere that plays around with alien, evil cosmic textures.

For this latest venture into the abyss, JUPITERIAN have made some changes on their path to death/doom stardom. The most obvious, and important, element of change with “Protosapien,” is that it is so much more dark and cavernous than their previous album “Terraforming.”  Instead of flirting with despair and gloom, “Protosapien,” completely submerges itself in these brackish waters.  The atmosphere on this album is much more subtle but not because it has been scaled back.  On the contrary, it has turned into an even heavier blanket of suffocating miasma.  But how it is presented is much different this time around.  Listening to “Terraforming,” was like taking a trip on an alien world and discovering everything around me, taking in the sights and sounds as I encountered them on my own terms.

Protosapien?” Now I’m utterly lost in this unending darkness.  The things I am experiencing are not on my own terms—although I am approaching them, I am not doing so with a mind of clarity but rather confusion and discomfort as I stumble around in the dark.  I do not know what is behind the next corner or what is under the next pool of water my feet step into it.  My sense of adventure and wonderment has been replaced with sheer terror and a constant nervous tick.  It isn’t all mental and emotional though; “Protosapien,” has a very physical presence.  This album is just so goddamn HEAVY.  I always expect music of this nature to bring about a certain element of metal dissonance but this..this is different.  This album takes doom/sludge/death metal into a special dimension of weight that couldn’t even be measured in tons.  The drums and bass are much more of a sweltering presence now, a tight foundation that doesn’t allow any room for anything that isn’t a battering ram or sulfuric atmosphere.

The vocals command more of a god-like stature this time around.  Much of this is due to the production which allows the vocals to act as yet another layer to the ever approaching danger.  It isn’t all production, however, as V as upped his game with some very low, menacing growls that are as tortured as they are brutal. So what does all that I have said so far mean?  It means that “Protosapien,” is an album that has something for everyone.  If I wanted, I could listen to album just for the general mood and feel, allowing my ears to soak up the myriad soundscapes generated by the synths.   However, I could also just as well concentrate my ears on being dragged through hell by the sludgy doom that encompasses it all.  In essence, the album has something new to discover every time it is listened too.  I must have played this straight through at least a dozen times before I wrote the review and each time my ears were peaked by new ideas creeping out from the many nook and crannies allocated to the album’s musical tapestry.

Homecoming,” is a short, very ambient intro that serves as a decent companion to the first full length track. “Mere Humans,” has a bass guitar drop that could flatten the planet.  The accompanying guitars have a black metal tone to them but ran through sludge.  At the end of each riff, the drums too drop seismic activity.  The vocals come, holding the song elements together and letting the riffs take on a life of their own.  The late middle section of the song is dark melody wrapped around the riffs and vocals that sound like a monster born of some unimaginable pit.  Like the title might suggest, this song conjured images of said monster encountering humans for the first time and shrugging them off like the insects we are.

Voidborn,” is a song born of pain—perhaps that creature was created in these depths and it is the way it is because the twisted darkness it lives in is all it knows…just a creature of constant, unimaginable pain.  The song itself is unimaginable in its thick ether created by the guitars and some fuzzed drenched bass.  This track is a bit more methodical and stalks as it ravages rather than an outright attack.  The sudden tempo change around 4:10 changes that idea and the song goes for the throat, ripping and shredding its way to the last section that consists of ultra slow, ultra fat doom riffs. “Capricorn,” features synths and percussion slowly rising up from the deep waters.  The drums peak out as a warning for what is to come, brought to creation by the guitar and bass. Some of the best riffs on the album are here, a bit more of a traditional doom feel but still unmistakably done in JUPITERIAN’s style. The bass finds itself the true star of the song, bringing its own type of doom.

Starless,” is weirdly melodic as the song goes on but it works with the rising fever created by the drums. This song has a tinge of gothic sorrow to it, a proclamation to abandon all hope. Imagine waking up and looking at the stars to find none to guide you.  Are you actually dead?  In some afterlife dimension? Or trapped underground?  The possibly terrifying answers to those questions are pondered and perhaps answered by this song but given out in audio representation. “Earthling Bloodline,” might be the darkest track on here.  “Homecoming,” began the album with this evil trepidation but this song expands on the idea for a hell of a finish.  This one wouldn’t sound out of place on a funereal doom album, the mood itself pushing the heaviness up and through me for a ride that shook me as much as it demanded by total attention.

Protosapien,” is an amazing album with incredible depth.  However, I don’t think it is better or worse than their other releases.  JUPITERIAN seem to be a band that want each album to speak a different way, to walk a different journey.  As such, as great as this album is, I do believe the best album from them is yet to come.  I will be more than happy to experience this journey with them because if “Protosapien,” is any indication, their path will be littered with many standout releases.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9


4 Star Rating

1.  Homecoming
2. Mere Humans
3. Voidborn
4. Capricorn
5. Starless
6. Earthling Bloodline
R - Bass
A - Guitars
V – Vocals, Guitars, Synthesizers
G - Drums
Record Label: Transcending Obscurity Records


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