Stijn Van Cauter has recently regained a productivity level close to that of his beginnings at early century, reactivating his many solo projects (even activating new ones) and inaugurating the new decade first with Beyond Black Void (Wraith Crag), then with Gruulvoqh (Dreams Of The Savant) and finally opening 2022 with his main creature called Until Death Overtakes Me. Although it’s not easy to follow the Belgian musician in all his various doom interpretations, it’s unanimously acknowledged that this is the moniker under which Van Cauter has published his most relevant works, and confirmation of this comes with Collapse of Light, whose total duration of almost two hours is no surprise to those familiar with the prolific Flemish musician’s output. The more or less recent release of several new full lengths by historical funeral doom names offers the cue to reiterate, if it were needed, how wide is the margin of maneuver within a subgenre that many mistakenly consider synonymous with static. If, for example, the last Shape Of Despair’s work fascinates for its enveloping characteristics without pushing on the dramatic side of the sound, in Collapse Of Light the sound unwinds mercilessly, without ever blandening but throwing us in places where the light is a remote memory, thanks to an exasperating slowness and riffs that seem like hammer blows ready to hit the psyche of the listener. I’m talking about two dichotomous ways of interpreting the genre, the comparison of which is functional to understand that this doom subgenre, even in its most incompromising form, manages to convey a sense of inescapable despair. It must be said that the first four tracks, somewhat more linear in their suffocating pace, occupy the first half of the work, while the second corresponds in fact to the last track Dread Afterimage, in which the always important ambient component prevails. A duration of such proportions represents a brake for those who are not completely addicted to these sounds, but this is funeral doom, take it or leave it. I’ll take it, regardless.

2022 – Independent