A Review of 'Bathos' by D.Berger of Deadtide.com

File this one under "interesting." The band definitely won early points with me thanks to their bio sheet from the label, which is full of metaphysical strangeness and idealism and is summed up by the final line "Do you believe all that?" Probably the most classic (and humorous) line I've ever seen in a label hype sheet. So kudos for that.

Said hype sheet refers to Aarni's style as "almost orthodox doom metallish Lovecraftian-Jungian Kalevala avante-garde music" while the band sites their niche as being "Chthonic Hybrid Musick" - so you see where they're coming from (probably art school). What it all boils down to is plodding, low-fi doom metal with ample touches of Finnish acoustic/woodwind folk influences and ambient keyboard accents. The vocals feature baritone chanting, clean crooning and occasional death roars or blackened rasps. Everything is stripped down and simplistic (including the guitar solos), but there is a prevalent and effective atmosphere of otherworldly mourning created.

Layering is often sparse, typically only two or three instruments are involved at a time (and often one or two take center stage - such as bass and flute). This works very well to create an isolated and somber tone to the record, which I reckon is just what the troops set out to do. Although the style is stripped down, the production is crisp and the mix is clear.

There are nine tracks spanning 65 minutes, so be prepared for a long journey (with quite a deal of time focused on instrumental passages). I'd say it's a trip well worth taking for those of you that like folksy doom with eclectic touches, and I think fans of Agalloch (count me in) will really dig what Aarni is up to - but the rest of you should check their site to see if these metallic space cadets float your Cthonic (whatever the Hell that is) boat. There are no truly outstanding tracks as they all ebb and flow at their own pace and do not conform to the standard concept of "hits" - so this is one o' them thar listenin' records. Don't expect a rollicking good time, but visit "Bathos" for its ability to take you on a strange journey.