Somnambulistic Visions by Dis Orcus

Release date: July 27, 2018
Label: Forever Plagued Records

It is rare nowadays to find a black metal album which feels truly original. A lot of bands tend to simply reach for the `Big Book of Black Metal Clichés’, slap on some corpse paint and blast beat their way to oblivion. I can say with full confidence that Dis Orcus are not one of those bands.

The single word which I think best captures the essence of Somnambulistic Visions is `vast’. This album is big, expansive and intricate. It conjures visions of infinite darkness’s and swirling chaos in which we are so insignificant that we simply fade away and cease to exist. It is this cosmic horror which permeates the album, nothing so mundane as monsters or devil worship, but that oldest of all human fears, the fear of nonexistence, a darkness which exists for all time, a fear of death followed by absolutely nothing.

These themes are captured in the music in various ways. The first most noticeable factor being the generally slow tempo used throughout which helps impart an overarching feeling of inevitability and awe, as if watching a building collapse on you in slow motion. There is then also a lot of down tuned fuzz and samples in the background, muddying the overall sound deliciously. Whereas black metal is often high on treble and fairly sharp edged, there is a certain softness to all of the instruments on Somnambulistic Visions, making everything feel organic and natural, while also suggesting a feeling of age, as if the music has been discovered after centuries of lying undiscovered and gathering dust.

These various factors combine with some amazing riffs and melodic passages to make an album which I have found myself going back to again and again. It is without a doubt my favourite album of 2018 so far, and is also steadily working its way up my list of favourite albums full stop.

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