Atmospheric doom/sludge. Ponder that tag and allow the words and your imagination to create a world, a special place of their design. Personally, there’s no light where those words take me. I see the genre before me and am transported somewhere dark, cold; visions of Errata convulse under Clouds which Swallow the Sun, and I begin to dream of a place that I could call home. Norway, Finland, Russia, Canada… the lands of ice and snow dance behind my eyes, and I am as unable to resist the siren call of such a genre as <celebrity in 2017> is able to resist <heinous act>. I have a thing for getting choked and caressed to by the sounds of scenery scorned by the sun, so I must admit that I was most fascinated by one specific aspect of Jupiterian when I chose to review their second full-length, Terraforming: these motherfuckers are Brazilian, yo [Yo ho ho, no more yos for thee.Steel].

This intrigued me most because I wanted to hear what, if any, cultural influences would surface throughout the album’s six tracks, and how such fora da caixa fare might help to push the envelope in some way. Turns out, the only real examples of such exploration are boxed into the percussion of “Matriarch” and “Forefathers”. Otherwise, this atmospheric doom/sludge album is pretty straightforward blackened doom, albeit one with a genre identity crisis. From start to finish, Terraforming takes the grounds which bands such as Behemoth or Blut Aus Nord have tread their cloven hooves upon and Ahabs the ebony terrain into something monolithic and slow, the landscape altered yet still familiar.

Familiarity is fine when it comes to identifying inspiration, but formulaic songwriting is a different story, especially when that story is told in five tracks out of six. The first telling is in opener “Matriarch,” and it goes like this: The gates of Terraforming are slowly, menacingly drawn open by percussion and ambience, then torn asunder as guitarists V and A drag us through fields of blackened doom akin to a slower Behemoth passage. After skulking through the introductory fog and wandering through a chuggy, doomy valley, things lull for a breather before the track re-energizes itself and we find ourselves rising, climbing with the music and V’s Nergal-y roars. We crest at an atmospheric peak, then cast ourselves from such great heights as the mounting fury of the journey explodes into a supernova of unbridled rage and chaos. The onslaught eventually subsides, leaving us able to catch our breath or bleed out as needed. The end result makes for a strong start, but it unfortunately somewhat weakens the succeeding tracks once you realize that the song is not so much an opening statement as it is a template of everything to come, the slight exception to this being the somehow bearable “Unintelligible Screaming Buried Under Ambient Noise” title track.

To that end, the music itself is never boring. While the foundation of each offering may be essentially identical, the well of inspiration which these Brazilians draw from runs deep, and a tasteful array of soundscapes provides the variety necessary to prevent déjà vu. Whether it’s the crawling Behemoth worship of “Matriarch,” the Saturnus-does-Insomnium melodies of “Unearthly Glow,” or the Dodecahedron tones of “Forefathers,” the tonal realm being explored is diverse enough that one can forgive the predictability. Nothing in these Jupiterian lands reeks of outright plagiarism or unoriginality; rather, everything simply follows the same path to reach its destination. While the last album and earlier EP’s may have been a bit more explorative, the band has still managed to craft something worth visiting in Terraforming. Bassists in particular may find this one to be yet another slap to the face as B-ist R continues the quiet legacy of absentee low-enders in metal mixes, but aside from that and the Alphabits shtick there is very little to complain about here.

Ultimately, Terraforming is a solid album. Exotic envelope-pusher it mayn’t be, but the band displays a strong understanding of at least one song structure and they’re clearly able to draw from multiple sources of inspiration and blend it all into something of their own. Without a litany of rain ‘n snow soaked brothers in blackened doom crowding their local metal scene it should be a little easier for the band to stand out and command attention. I’ll be making the occasional pilgrimage back to this, and I’m certainly keen to see where Jupiterian takes us next, I just hope that future releases see more shape thrown into their darkly colorful world.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 4 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Websites: jupiterian.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/jupiteriandoom
Releases Worldwide: November 15th, 2017

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  • Nukenado

    Amazing cover… Who did it?
    I hear “atmospheric” and if it’s not a BM album I’d probably turn off.

    • There’s plenty of black metal goodness in this, just definitely not a straight up atmo black album by any stretch. No idea who did the art, but it was what led me to pre-order this in the first place. Muppet luck strikes again, I was unfamiliar with these guys prior to stumbling across them on Bandcamp, to the point that I initially thought this to be a debut.

      • Nukenado

        Hmm… I might give them a go then.

      • Eli Valcik

        I judged this as prog when I saw the album art. Kinda regret that, this ain’t bad.

    • Paul Stella II

      Painting by Caue Piloto

      • Nukenado

        Thanks!

  • Monsterth Goatom

    We have V, R, and A. Is there also an I and Ag?

    • No I, but there is a G, and they seem to be fond of displaying their name in descending order, as such:
      V
      A
      R
      G
      Hmmmm…..

      • Eli Valcik

        what an asshole.

        • That’s just coincidental. The band actually had me change it because they meant nothing by it.

          • Eli Valcik

            Oh please don’t get me mistaken, I’m not taking shots at you or the band. I’m just saying that Vary is an ass hole.:)

          • Hey no problem man! Thank you so much for your interest! :)

  • Also, I had requested a unicorning, but that privilege is outside my scope and I’m thinking the powers that be may have fallen victim to holiday brain lag.

    • Thatguy

      This is worth a listen and thanks for drawing it to my attention.

      Would have been a lot more fun with a band photo, or a unicorn.

      • Name’s Dalton

        I fully endorse this album. Even bought the t-shirt.

        • Thatguy

          Cool. I think I envy your T-shirt collection.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Nothing beats Matt Pike’s T-shirt collection. Just google it!

      • The One Trve ‘Corn hath visited whilst we were lost in the lands of slumber, like a Tooth Fairy worth believing in.

        • Thatguy

          Woo-hoo.

          Better late than never.

        • Nukenado

          She leaves unicorns under childrens’ pillows and they wake up with blood flowing from their ears and gain a healthy appreciation for fucked up black metal.

          • Any child with a pillow able to conceal a unicorn is spoiled beyond metal redemption.

          • Nukenado

            The pillow does not conceal a unicorn; it is the unicorn that is conceals itself.

          • Fair enough.

          • Nukenado

            By the way Drew, it might be highly unlikely that you have not picked it up, but listen to Hyperion’s last record for about 20 more times.

          • I wish I liked it as much as everyone. It’s ok, maybe even pretty good, but still nothing standout to me.

          • Nukenado

            Hmm, I urge you to give it another try. It’s a bit tiring a la carte, but try the intro and Novus… together.
            I know it’s not a very album’y thing to do, but from familarity with the songs comes a different way to view the album.
            I’m not gonna push you, but it’s almost eclipsing III: Trauma on my playtime this year, which is no small feat.

          • Nukenado

            So much good BM coming out in recent times.

          • Nukenado

            By the way, this Jupiterian album is dope. I do hear some D12 vibes, especially like the track Dodecahedron ~ An Ill-Defined Air of Otherness ~

  • Iain Gleasure

    The lands of Ice and Snow? You’re from one you Muppet!

    • The grass is always greener and all that. Well, not grass in this case, and certainly more black than green, but you know what I mean.

  • Frost15

    I’m giving this a spin for the first time and I think it deserves a better score already. It’s awesome!

    • Part of me wanted to give it a 3.5 for enjoyment alone, but I knew exactly where every song but the title track was going and that almost always weakens an album for me. I’m optimistic that the next album will further impress, they’ve grown a good bit from their early albums and this is solid stuff, could just use a tad more variety in the songwriting department. Either way, I’m glad you like them, this is certainly a solid album no matter what the rating is. Plus, subjectivity yo.

  • Luciano

    I believe Jupietarian is on their path to becoming something greater in the global scene. They might just have to hit the jackpot with a more “dynamic” album.
    Also from Brazil, I’d suggest Labirinto (their latest release,Gehenna, is one fine piece of instrumental post-rock/ metal).

    • With you there yo, and I’ll definitely check out Labirinto, sounds like my shit.

      • Luciano

        You won’t regret it, I’m sure

  • The embedded track is pretty good, so I’ll check out the rest. Do you mean you can’t hear the bass or there isn’t a tremendous amount of low end? I would say the bass guitar is quite prominent in the mix, though it’s lacking deep lows.

    • The latter would be less hyperbolic/more accurate, but for most of the time I flat out didn’t hear hear any bass activity.

      • sir_c

        Bass should be felt. Two doors down.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Taake review coming?

  • GWW

    Behemoth and Dodecahedron!? I don’t hear any of that here.

    • Dodecahedron tones show up in a few darker moments of a couple songs, Behemoth influence appears much more frequently throughout the album. It’s a tonal thing, they’re not making Behemoth music just using a ton of the same scales/chord patterns, creating something the effect of a super slowed down Behemoth idea. That’s just my point of comparison though, there are plenty of blackened bands frequenting the same sonic grounds that these guys are terraforming, Behemoth was just the one that kept coming to my mind.

  • Tenebrae

    Is that… Barrack Obama?