Acathexis - Immerse

Artist: Acathexis

Album Title: Immerse

Label: Amor Fati Productions (physical) / Extraconscious Records (Digital)

Date of Release: 20 March 2024

Reason 4,276 to dislike Spotify: this release is billed as an EP on that god forsaken platform. It may only be comprised of four tracks, but with a run-time of nearly fifty minutes, there is no way that this release could ever be referred to as an EP. Admittedly, the annoyance with EPs is when they try to sneak under the radar as a full-length album, not the other way around. But when I’m not a fan of streaming platforms in general because of the pittance the artists receive from them, and the fact that Spotify is headed up by an Arsenal fan who is quoted as saying that releasing new music every three to four years is not enough, I’ll take any opportunity I can take to take issue with Daniel Ek and Co. The artists decide, not you, sunshine.

Call me petty if you wish – I’ve been called much worse over the years – but with that out of the way, and a sense of calm established, I can turn my attention to the main event. And that is ‘Immerse’, the sophomore release from Acathexis. I’ll admit to having never come across the name before, but armed with a mojo that cannot be satisfied currently, I’m forever on the lookout for new and exciting music upon which to shine a much-needed light. And, after one cursory listen to the opening track, ‘Dreams Of Scorched Mirrors’ on my phone as my girls played Twister with me in the living room, I was sold enough to return and to ultimately pen a review.

For the benefit of the uninitiated like me, Acathexis is essentially a trio, comprised of three musicians with a mountain of experience under their belts, and a plethora of other musical endeavours between them. Chief among them is guitarist/bassist Déhà, who boasts a list as long as your arm, albeit mainly unfamiliar to me. Alongside Déhà in Acathexis you’ll find Mare Cognitum’s drummer Jacob Buczarski and vocalist Dany Tee from Los Males Del Mundo, all of whom are founding members of Acathexis which came into being in 2016.

Whether or not you’re going to like the music on this album is going to depend largely on your tolerance for long, drawn-out compositions. If you’re not a fan, then I suggest you move on because three of the four songs extend into double figures, with the shortest of the quartet missing that mark by just a mere twenty-three seconds. However, if this compositional characteristic leaves you largely unfazed, then you might want to read on.

Of course, it will also help the cause immensely if you’re also a fan of black metal, because fundamentally, this is what Acathexis deliver here. More specifically, their chosen musical weapon of choice is atmospheric black metal with a hefty vein of misery and depressive intent woven into the fabric of the compositions. And, if this is the rough approach of other endeavours by these musicians, I’m going to have an awful lot of homework to do.

The tranquil but achingly sorrowful intro to ‘Dreams Of Scorched Mirrors’, led by a clean guitar melody with plenty of echo and atmosphere is a start destined to get my attention straight away. As it the full-on explosion of black metal savagery that blows the delicacy of the opening away like a feather in the face of a hurricane. The vocals of Dany Tee are, in a strange way, reminiscent of his alternatively-spelled namesake, Dani Filth, when the latter was at his peak around the release of ‘Dusk…And Her Embrace’. The high-pitched shrieks and screams of anguish, loss, fear, frustration, and all else besides, are blended with deeper growls too, but it’s the piercing delivery that hits me the very hardest. Alongside, we’re treated to a black metal battery of frosty staccato riffs and blazing blastbeats, but tempered by elegant, majestic melodies. The latter come from the riffs, but also from any number of stop-me-in-my-tracks lead guitar lines that seem to carry the misery of the entire world within their crystalline notes. The song lasts for over eleven minutes, but there is still so much crammed in, that the composition feels like it’s bursting at the seams.

If I had a criticism to level at the trio, it’d be that not all four of the tracks feel as fully rounded out and worthy of the extended durations. Plus, I do feel that greater use of inter-song dynamics would have made for an even more spectacular experience all-round. This is probably me trying to find some kind of negative element to the music rather than being hit hard by something more obvious. But, nevertheless, the lengthy approach to songwriting with a paucity of genuine and pronounced shifts in song dynamics is likely to put off some potential listeners. When they do oblige, at around the nine-minute mark of ‘Adrift In Endless Tides’, or the half-way point within ‘The Other’, it works a treat, allowing different facets to emerge.

What I will say, though, is that the more I have listened to ‘Immerse’, the more I have fallen for its charms. Where once I bemoaned a passage for not being as dynamic or as melodic as I may have liked, I have been largely forced to eat great slices of humble pie because the more insidious nature of the music has finally revealed itself to me and I’m loving the music all the more as a result. I mean, just take a listen to the utterly magnificent bombast of the final two minutes of ‘The Other’ as an example of the way this music can just hit you in the gut when you’re least expecting it.

With a couple of very small misgivings aside, I have to commend the trio of musicians who have come together under the banner of Acathexis, because ‘Immerse’ is, on the whole, a very impressive body of work that has snared me, and will no doubt snare others who enjoy their black metal to be grandiose, melodic, and incredibly melancholy all at the same time. ‘Immerse’ is all of these things, and more besides, ensuring that I will be adding their slice of misery and extremity to my collection very soon indeed.

The Score of Much Metal: 89%



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