If calling their debut album Prologue isn’t an indication that Poseidon are a band with big plans, then maybe their ambitious doom metal centred around a multi-stranded sci-fi narrative is. Still, standing out in the current strong UK doom scene can be a tough gig, and any band hoping to do so better have substantial songwriting prowess. Thankfully, Poseidon do. With as much in the way of potent riffs as they do experimental tones, the London band prove themselves as skilful as any of their doom metal comrades on their first LP.
Prologue is, without a doubt, a doom metal release that recognises and utilises the sub-genre’s template of monolithic, crawling guitars and encompassing fuzz, but that doesn’t stop Poseidon from conspiring to defy the limitations of the genre throughout the release’s expansive four tracks. 13-minute opener ‘The Beginning; The End, The Colony’ begins proceedings with thick feedback before the initial wave of psychedelic sludge creeps into the mix, but from there it drifts into less conventional territory – alien noises infuse an ominous air on unfamiliarity, whilst squealing and expressive leads sporadically shine through the hazy layer of dingy doom.
Surprisingly, second track ‘Mother Of Mary; Son Of Scorn’ descends into more emotive textures with eight minutes of acoustic melancholy, which are either a waste of time or another impressive arrow in their quiver, depending on your preference. Things pick back up with the more succinct ‘Chainbreaker’, a commendable attempt to challenge genre norms whilst remaining monstrously heavy. Elsewhere, closer ‘Omega’ reflects the release’s well-executed ambition – it manages a hefty 16-minute runtime but never feels overly indulgent, and the hypnotic final riffs are as gripping as the alluring, drawn-out intro.
The abrasive doom on display here can grab you by the throat, but the textured sound that takes frequent detours into increasingly unique new territories can just as easily entice you in with mind-bending atmospherics. It can be hard to do anything truly new in doom metal, and aspects of Poseidon’s sound can decidedly be found in previous releases from similar acts, but the band’s mesmerising atmospherics, crushing riffs and feverish psychedelia is more deserving of acclaim for innovation than most.
Prologue is out now on Ripple Music. Purchase here.
Words: George Parr