Amanecer en Puerta Oscura

Southern Lord 2007

The sophomore effort from Spain's masters of expansive doom is really a hard album to wrap one's head around.  But that is a good thing.  Partially rooted in introspective doom territory while the majority of the material here would seem almost to be freeform jazz.  Only the track Solemne Triduo truly reflects the oppressive nature of their debut while the rest of the compositions carry on a stream-of-conscious feeling as they flow from one idea to the next while drums crash and collapse on one another.  Strangled explosions of strings and stumbling drums collide in languid bursts on Mesto, Rigido E Ceremoniale and just when you think the calamity is over, it explodes once again.  I do think the track Puerta Osario is a little useless as it sort of reminds me of a child plinking away on a piano rather than a serious exercise in musical mood.   However it does lead nicely into the bass plucking intro of the 15 minute Templos who maniacal string picking and surging cymbals underlined by the occasional subtle clarinet is very unsettling.  It is hard to feel at ease throughout the album even though its pacing seems so at ease and care free.  Very little is heard vocally from Orthodox this time around with only two songs featuring those characteristic warbling moans so distinct on Gran Poder.  The production courtesy of Sputnik studios enhances each element of the album with clear and sharp sounds that remind me of a crisp spring morning with just a hint of a chill in the air.  Complexity but with a laidback and unhurried sense of exploration is what Orthodox have achieved on Amanecer en Puerta Oscura.  Freed from the constraints of both genre and rigid song structure, Orthodox free both their musical creativity as well as the listeners mind to roam within the unbalanced soundscapes they have daydreamed and brought into existence.