Save for some splits, a compilation, and an EP, 2020’s Cosmic World Mom was …And Oceans first correct launch in practically 20 years (since 2002’s Cypher). As such, the LP had quite a bit to show concerning the band’s potential to stay intriguing and essential whereas sustaining their beloved unique attributes. Thankfully, they completely knocked it out of the park, and the identical might be mentioned about follow-up As in Gardens, So in Tombs. Filled with as a lot brutality and orchestral class as you’d anticipate, it proves that the Finnish symphonic black metallic troupe’s second coming is in full impact.
As acknowledged of their newest bio, As in Gardens, So in Tombs is supposed to immediately “eclipse and recontextualize” what its predecessor completed as a “grander and more melodic” journey. In accordance with guitarist Timo Kontio, it was a neater document to make than Cosmic World Mom as a result of they’d already executed the “difficult comeback album.” Vocalist Mathias Lillmåns concurs, including, “The lyrics just kept on coming, not as fast and not in such a trancelike frenzy as the last album, but good stuff on a steady basis.”
Conceptually, the gathering “doubles down” on Cosmic World Mom’s notion that “energy is eternal and . . . only changes form.” Particularly, Lillmåns notes:
“[It emphasizes] how humanity’s energies toward enlightenment are often the same path, even if we have different languages, religions, customs, etc… Energy is the most efficient recycler in the universe… I think it’s a very calming thought, that whatever happens, whenever it happens, makes no difference. We have always and always will be a part of the circle of eternal energy; we have always existed and will always exist in some form.”
Clocking in at a cool 50 minutes, As in Gardens, So in Tombs is a unending atmospheric sonic assault. Take, as an example, how the opening title monitor swells with refined orchestral moodiness earlier than erupting right into a fury of relentless percussion, guitar riffs, and guttural proclamations. Though a regal interlude—comprised of weird digital timbres, mournful piano chords, and foreboding narration—offers a short respite, it isn’t lengthy earlier than the fashion comes full circle.
Expectedly, a lot of the remaining materials adheres to that template amidst injecting distinctive attributes. As an example, “The Collector and His Construct” affords appealingly melodic guitar work close to the tip; “Within Fire and Crystal” injects faint but useful keyboard accentuations; and “Carried on Lead Wings” incorporates a solemn synth passage midway in. Later, “Cloud Heads” successfully ventures into prog metallic eccentricity, whereas nearer “Ambivalent God” ends with a downright ethereal coda. It is simply the document’s most gorgeously serene second, in addition to an excellent instance of the group’s knack for matching viciousness with loveliness.
On that word, the LP’s greatest setback is its prioritization of the previous over the latter. In different phrases, a greater stability between its hellish basis and its angelic tangents would do wonders for its cumulative immersion and profundity. However, As in Gardens, So in Tombs is a profitable successor to Cosmic World Mom and one other clear signal of reinvigoration from …And Oceans.