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Lake Of Depression – Black Oceans

Lake Of Depression
Black Oceans
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 13 July 2021, 6:35 AM

LAKE OF DEPRESSION is a two man funeral doom machine, courtesy of Panama based musican Ricardo Brenes. "Black Oceans" is the second full length album for the band, which formed in 2005; two splits and a demo have also been released. Ricardo handles all the vocals and instruments with the exception of the bass, which is provided by Eduardo Vanegas.

I reviewed the previous album, "Decadencia," and found it enjoyable but could still see where the project could improve. "Black Oceans," is still the same crushing doom but takes a different approach in some ways. The run time has been trimmed considerably down to thrity-five minutes across three tracks. Some may balk about an album of this nature being "short" but honestly who really cares? There is no rule demanding every doom album being thirteen hours long. At the end of the day, it is ALWAYS quality over quantity. And this album isn't lacking in quality. Besides, each of the three tracks is over eleven minutes in length—-plenty of doom to explore.

There are no long winded instrumental intros or outros this time—"Black Oceans" is a trimmed and tight album and all the better for it. The album begins with the title track and the watery sounds of rain and storm. Eduardo's bass takes the lead, bringing the acoustic guitar and atmosphere down a light but increasingly dark path. The heavy guitar lands soon enough but the acoustics and bass keep going—these layers make the song seem alive and give a rich yet vibrant feel for the genre. The vocals are deep—very much an inhuman rumble and a force of nature to rival the storm's abilities.  The tempo is perfectly slow but never feels like it is lagging nor does it contain any filler.

Higher register death growls overlay with the deeper tones, creating a miserable and grim atmosphere that only doom metal can pull off this well. "Abysmal Fall," is up next, beginning with the continuation of the storm that ended the title track—I really dig how these songs connect. This song is more direct—after the moment with the storm, the song begins with earthquaking bass and heavy toned guitar that is now adding in melody to the mix. I love the spoken word too….combined with the sullen melodies, the song takes on a Gothic presence. The song continues to fall deeper into the abyss. The bass and riffs grow sonically more dense, even suffocating and cavernous. I appreciate how different this song sounds from the previous track considering funeral doom isn't known for its variety. The Gothic melodies return to the forefront in the song's halfway part for quite the enjoyable yet depressing dirge through these endless seas. The drums are strong, adapt at holding up the foundation for thus behemoth.  The last couple minutes feature thick riffs that hit deep. The song ends with what sounds like being plunged underneath the black depths. Silence sets in briefly and it's a nice touch because it allows what was just heard to stay with you….it left me numb and afraid but still ready for more.

"Our Graves Below The Sea," begins with the sounds of sinking and drowning. This song is truly immense and encompassed my being for its nearly thirteen minute duration. The guitar and bass is so deep and monstrous that I truly felt I was too beneath this watery grave. And how about those death vocals? Ricardo sounds like he trying to struggle his way out of the depths but drowning over and over again. The dim melodies and spoken word are just the right touch the song needed: tragic and fearful with the right amount of desperation. If you're into doom (and why wouldn't you be), these are the needed elements you will crave.

LAKE OF DEPRESSION's "Black Oceans," is a winning doom metal album that shows a clear upwards progression and improves upon the previous album. I cannot wait to see what Ricardo does next with the band.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Black Oceans
2. Abysmal Fall
3. Our Graves Below The Sea
Ricardo "Lebzul" Brenes - Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
Eduardo Vanegas - Bass
Record Label: Independent


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