A Review of 'Bathos' by Tom Orgad of Maelstrom

The good:

- Inspired by alchemy, Finnish folklore and Eastern mysticism, Aarni reaches new levels of eccentricity and enchantment in the doom metal genre with obscure atonality, melody, unearthly, bizarre, colorful sluggishness.

The bad:

- Despite being a brilliant piece of work, Bathos does not contain any specific outstanding tracks.

The ugly:

- Confusing Aarni, the Finnish doom band, with Arnie, the governor of California.

The review:

Following their split release with Umbra Nihil, any upcoming solo album by Aarni should raise great curiosity and expectations regarding the essence of the recently ripe fruit of a creative force capable of such intriguing, singular and brilliant outcomes. Bathos features an outstanding batch of engulfing, enchanting pieces aesthetically derivative of the doom metal genre, infusing the listener with narcotic doses of obscure contemplation, bulky ponderings and obscure atonality.

However, Aarni's new album is to evoke much further beyond merely bearing the name of this magnificent band. A short glance at the booklet of Bathos reveals that the band's creation has greatly focused upon numerous of the endless hidden treasures of splendidly esoteric thought schools: from alchemy to Eastern mystics, from tales of Finnish folklore to bewildering discordant symbolism. Such pretensions surely upraise the expectations one has from such a release to nearly unprecedented standards.

Spinning Bathos for the first time, a tension is naturally built: will the band manage to absorb the listener within an experiential dimension of such overwhelming, enchanting lore? How should such an incredible task be achieved?

A listen to Bathos reveals that indeed, Aarni hasn't failed to reach new levels of eccentricity in their music. Their latest album defies any conventions of a usual listening experience. It reaches far beyond any familiar of form of linear understanding or common assimilation of musical content. The process of imbuing the output of Aarni may perhaps be compared, more than everything else, to scrying [divining the future through a crystal ball - helpful Roberto]. One has to lean back, let go of any listening norms and habits, and allow the music to rise from within the depths of his subconscious, bringing forth dormant impressions and hidden images from the bottoms of his being.

Aesthetically, the band's music is still characterized mostly by the opposition existing between unusual harmony and melody, on one hand, and the at times amazing (not to say exaggerated) rhythmical and structural simplicity, on the other, creating a sense of unearthly, bizarre, colorful sluggishness. Stylistically, the band has departed further from the grounds of known, conventional metal. Although maintaining deep, fathomable vocals somehow typical to the genre and conserving a reasonable amount of heavy, bassy riffs and simple, straight forward melodic lines, the presence of clean, intricate melodic passages, unusual atmospheric atonal phrasings and sheerly avant-garde sound effects and passages moves the band away from the realms of any metal environment to a perfectly unique and particular one, forming their own extraordinary space, a closure in which the marvels of Aarni take place.

However, it should be noted that the greatly encompassing atmosphere of the album also demands a certain price to pay: unlike their previous split, it seems that the current release lacks any exceedingly brilliant specific tracks. In their search for the establishment of ultimate mental surroundings, the band somehow, perhaps inevitably, lets go of the level of concrete, surface excellence, departing to the higher realms of complete holism.

So, while lacking any specific outstanding tracks to pinpoint and cherish, Bathos is an incredible, involving and divining listening experience. Highly recommended for every follower of the occult, overall seeker, or open-minded music fan whatsoever.