Slow – VI Dantalion

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label URL: https://www.code666.net
Released: 2019
Buy Album: https://slowdooom.bandcamp.com/album/vi-dantalion
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/slowdooom/

Band line-up:

Déhà – Guitars, Drums & Vocals
Lore B. – Bass, Lyrics, Concepts

Tracklisting:

1. Descente
2. Lueur
3. Géhenne
4. Futilité
5. Lacune
6. Incendiaire
7. Elégie

Review:

SLOW (Silence Lives Out/Over Whirlpool) is a Belgian funeral doom metal band. It was formed in 2007 by Deha of We All Die (Laughing), Imber Luminis, Clouds and other projects. In 2017, he teamed up with Lore B of Ter Ziele and attracted the attention of cult Italian label code666, a company that deals with Negura Bunget, Ne Obliviscaris, Fen, etc. In January 2018, SLOW released their concept album ‘V – Oceans’, which achieved worldwide critical acclaim. Their sixth album ‘VI – Dantalion’ was released 8th November 2019. 

Yes, the genre SLOW play in is intentionally one of the most intensely monotonous and depressing genres known to man (there are some ‘worse’ avant-garde doom bands), but still, that doesn’t mean the style isn’t supposed to have highlights to look forward too. There sure are great moments in ‘Dantalion’, but they don’t appear at the start of the album, and that may put off people who are new to the band. In contrast, track 2 ‘Lueur’ builds like similar bands (e.g. Shape of Despair) at their best. With its dramatic, powerful and grim harmony and epic synth choirs it just gets better and better over its 17 minute length. Sadly though, the ending is a little sudden.

When track 3 ‘Gehenne’ comes in, with a powerful bass part, there is hope for a change in direction, but then in come those familiar ultra-power chords. At this point, it seems that the band are sticking to a formula a little too much. The strangely ethereal keys on top of them are as majestic as ever, but even though the note choices are adventurous and intelligent, there’s a tiny sense of unwanted monotony, this time. Track 4, ‘Futilite’ suffers from similar problems, though its mood is perhaps a little more positive in places, but certainly not in a healthy way. Think a seriously depressed man coming into contact with a strange, captivating new world. Maybe that’s just me.

Track 5 ‘Lacune’, is more aggressive. I guess the new world turned out to be not so good, huh? Poor guy. Its chord progression is a little cliched in places (that classic root going to the fifth, to the doomy flat fifth) but it isn’t annoying or boring. Newish things have been done with it. What’s interesting, is the track has some touches of hope towards the end. Such a mixture of moods may sound strange to put it mildly, but the composition does work. A sad solo piano finishes the track, making it a bit of a roller coaster. Track 6, ‘Incendiaire’ again is in a familiar bleak style, but it’s far from self-plagiarism. It is another song that is well worth waiting till the later stages. It’s disappointing ending is similar to track 2’s, however. 

The final track is different on the other hand. In fact it’s completely different. It’s a 16 minute instrumental featuring classical-style acoustic guitars, mournful pianos and sentimental strings and the changes of textures are captivating and varied, yet far from messy and over the top. Despite the massive change of composition style, it doesn’t come across as weird or pretentious, rather it leaves a lasting, thoughtful effect on the listener, in the same way a powerful drama would stick with a moviegoer. 

In conclusion, the patient will be highly rewarded. This album is very deep and will have a long lifespan, due to its epic and detailed nature. There are some flaws as some songs have ideas that are a little too similar to each other and the album doesn’t draw the listener in too much at first, but there is a strange, morbid beauty that makes Slow different to many of their contemporaries. Their music isn’t as adventurous, disturbing or unpleasant as bands such as Unholy, but it is far more intense than any of Candlemass’s stuff. On the spectrum of doom, Slow are certainly on the more gloomy side. Definitely check this album out if you have unusual tastes!

Review by Simon Wiedemann
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