Sporae Autem Yuggoth – …However It Still Moves

The somewhat ominously titledHowever, It Still Moves is the debut of Chilean death-doomsters Sporae Autem Yuggoth. Without being able to parse the Latin, but being informed by the promo material that theirs is a “Lovecraftian moniker,” all this adds up to quite a foreboding piece. This portent proves pretty accurate upon pressing play. What unfolds is an hour of spooky, synth-accented, gritty death metal that’s essentially funeral doom with a grimy low-fi production. Something like early Worm, sprinkled with a little Hooded Menace, and a touch of Skepticism. It sounds both old-school and experimental simultaneously and ticks every box for creepy, slimy, dark, and evil-sounding music. But the specter that haunts …However… is that whose shadow threatens every long-form doom release. Namely, length, and the ability to maintain a hold on the listener throughout. Can it shift this shade aside or is it obscured by it?

…However…is a record that lacks immediacy, but possesses significant growing power. This is true both for the whole, as it took several listens to pick out its nuances, and within its runtime, as it develops and improves as it goes on. Ominous and strange as the clanging bell and weird synths of opener “Apparition of Internal Odes” are, its fuzz-warped death metal riffs and clashing pinch harmonics idle by ineffectively as the song approaches ten minutes. Synths do elevate “The Pendulum of Necropath” and “Colossus Larvae: The Crimson Coffin & the Scarlet Worm” to a powerful psychedelic unease when they wrap around dissonant guitars and blanket urgent riffing. But the progression is simply too little to command one’s undivided attention or justify the transitions from straightforward gritty death metal to spacey death metal and back, which occur within these first three tracks. It’s not until the back half of”Disintegration”—almost half an hour in—that things really get good. By this point, many may have checked out, which is a shame, as from here on Sporae demonstrate and realize their capability to write some brilliantly baleful, immersive death doom.

Everything foreshadowed in that first half is unraveled in the second. The guitar lines that until now lurked behind a shimmer of synths and grime rise up out of the murk in epic, mournful, and evil solos (“Disintegration,” “Disguise the Odious Spirits,” “Through Dominion to Interlude”). The touches of classical piano, horn, and strums that hid in the mix (“Apparition…,” “The Pendulum…”) come forth to lead beautiful melodies and bring resonating stillness (“Disguise…,” “The Night Ocean”). The menace suggested in the creeping chords and ebbing synth of the early tracks is palpably present in layered urgent melodies, echoing feedback (“Enantiodromia,” “Through…”) and whining, dissonant guitars (“Disguise…” “Through…”). Yes, the interlude “Enantiodromia” is too long for its unchanging, droning rustle to warrant. And yes, “Disguise…” does meander in its blackened aggression a tad. But the spellbinding flow between all these late album songs more than makes up for such little nitpicks.

As earlier intimated, the early portion of the album is by no means irredeemable. When one turns their ear, the subtle shifts of a pulsing ebb and flow become more audible. Not to mention their evocative use of a bell and even a sampled scream (“Apparition…”). What lets Sporae down—particularly on the first half, but for the second too—is the mix. Grit and grime no doubt have their place here. To an extent, the old-school fuzz enhances the music, in boosting the spook factor, or the beauty of the mournful refrain of “Disguise…” through its rough veil. But too high a proportion of the lead guitars across …However… are buried in the mire, and the synths so overshadowed by the heavy instrumentation their trajectory is inaudible. One hears only the fact that there are synths. These issues are corrected in the late album high points, but this cannot redeem the whole.

…However… leaves me torn. On the one hand, it’s a record I only want to listen to the second half of, with some questionable mix choices. On the other, a record whose strongest moments shake me like little death doom has in recent months. It’s only a debut, and contains within it enough material to prove that Sporae are one to watch. Perhaps It Still will Move many with a greater sympathy for the bemired.

Rating: Mixed
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320kb/s mp3
Label: Personal Records
Websites: sporaeautemyuggoth.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/SAYuggoth
Releases Worldwide: May 19th, 2023

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