Keeping the British end up in the funeral doom-death stakes, these sullen Londoners have remained a shadowy occasional presence in the underground for over a decade.
This third album sees them upping their game with a more expansive, majestic and versatile sound, with a slew of guest solos lending kaleidoscopic dimensions to the monolithic doom chords and hacking blasts of crusty DM.
Esoteric’s Gordon Bicknell adds eerie, forlorn leads to awesome 17-minute centrepiece Strange Meridian, but his guitar is already well-versed in extreme doom. More surprising is Mountains Of Mind, a collaboration with Robert Roth from Seattle alt-rockers Truly, and the cover of Five Years Ahead Of My Time, a 1967 single by psych-punks The Third Bardo. The closing title track – a meditative stretch of dark ambient that sounds like the BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s long dark night of the soul – confirms the wisdom of exploring impulses beyond the orthodoxy of crushing doom (although there’s a gratifying abundance of that, too), helping sustain the 71-minute running time with a developing sense of dynamism and renewal.