Concept albums can be tricky beasts, and single-song concept albums even more so. The symphonic doom metal duo comprising Cyclocosmia seek to invoke images of live-buried vestal virgins with their new EP, Immured.
Immured is a seventeen-minute song broken into four movements and numbered accordingly. Alternating between clean-sung and growled vocals, provided by Aliki Katriou (Eight Lives Down, Tattered Pages) and Cyclocosmia founder, James Scott, Immured is a moody piece detailing the emotions of an entombed woman.
The opening movement is a sub-two-minute intro comprised of a marching drum beat, subtle keyboards, and a haunting wail from Aliki. The second movement, however, is where the metal elements jump to the front. After a crunchy opening, Aliki delivers some sweetly-sung verses before she and James burst in with some angry growls. The refrains (such as they are) are the highlights of this track, as the verses feel almost too subdued by comparison.
The subtle vocals open the third movement, but here is where the instrumentation begins to shine. Midway through the track, James provides some wailing guitar while Aliki delivers some croaky wails of her own. The piece ends with some Middle Eastern-influenced classical guitar over more traditional death/doom rhythms.
The final (and longest) movement runs the gamut of emotions felt by the buried woman — sorrow, anger, despair, and ultimately, resignation. It’s a powerful piece of music to end on, and also showcases the band’s talents.
As much as I enjoyed the album, I couldn’t help but feel there should have been just a little more of everything. Perhaps minimalism was the intent. After all, once someone has been buried alive, what is there really to do but get caught up in your own head until death finally arrives? I just feel another ten minutes would have fleshed out the EP a bit more.
Despite its relatively short length, Immured is a lot to take in. Likewise, it’s a difficult album to give a straightforward "recommend" to, as I feel some will love this while others will have the opposite reaction. I found it a moving, emotional piece, and if that’s something you enjoy, head to Cyclocosmia’s Bandcamp page (or use the embedded version below) and give the album a listen.
Special thanks to Against PR for the complementary review copy.