Formed in the UK in 2017, Superterrestrial are an underground black metal. However do not let the genre given deceive you, The Fathomless Decay is anything but your standard black metal affair.
The Fathomless Decay strides between the expectancy of the genre yet is adventurous enough to stand out from the crowd. Yes, there are the expected blast beats, tremolo riffing and the vocals which sound like they are coming forth from a cavernous void of some unknown origin. However, what set’s this album apart is that you have the synthesizer passages and (ready for it) proper riffs that any self-respecting metal fan would snap their neck headbanging furiously to.
This record contains so many little unexpected moments that it warrants repeat listens and in turn makes the relentless black metal passages more enjoyable, not that they weren’t really good as they are. They are musical and rememberable, and the aforementioned actual riffs all play into the appeal. The unexpected moments just elevate those passages as they form part of the picture rather than being its whole.
The album is littered with highlights like the opening song ‘Dark Energy’ which contains a mid-tempo groove riff that crushes with the weight of a collapsing star. Then there is ‘Escape Velocity’, with the song’s main riff settling into a half-time rhythm which is fused with another meaty groove riff which it accompanies the tempo change, then it gets stripped away before coming back again and then giving way again to an otherworldly bell style synths passage.
This is simple but utterly effective songwriting. Make no mistake the music is heavy and violent as typified in the song ‘Solar Constant’, which is ferocious from the get-go and a great showcase of the pummelling repetitive circular motion the genre is known for, it is brutal but off-set with ambient moments to contrast to the musical violence.
A special mention though must go to ‘Planetesimal’, which has a riff utterly disgusting in its heaviness and is by far the most brutal moment on the album that drops straight into a post-rock styled segment that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Mastodon album. It is quite frankly beautiful before launching straight back into that brutal riff. This contrast of moments makes this album great, they may sound random in their description but it just works, just flows and that is a testament to the quality of the songwriting.
To call Superterrestrial’s The Fathomless Decay a black metal album is an injustice to what Superterrestrial have created, it is Cosmic Black Metal and The Fathomless Decay is an early contender for album of the year.