In releasing the self into the seeming abyss, a rejection of human will and acceptance of futility, there are many rivers of careful meaning one must navigate. When destructing all egoistic tendencies to dissolve self-interest as the primary motivation for all life is a horrifying freedom that comes with a shedding of the lies of persistent happiness and superiority that all men are told as they mentally grow; This natural evolutionary resistance is the result of countless generations of Christian misinterpretation of Stoics like Chrysippus whose understanding of fate was intertwined with the universe, not resultant from God. That is to say that the belief that a supposed creator predestines all, he a whirler of fates, is a poor translation of the concept of the universe and ‘God’ when they were mere necessary synonym of convenience for those who would translate great works without a reasonable understanding of Greek religion. The historian who would insert their own point of view is a curse upon all documented human knowledge.
Chrysippus was certainly on the conservative spectrum despite his role in popularizing the train of thought that would change the western world, he taught a suspiciously sophist ‘therapy’ where the depressed would be instructed to seek-and-destroy their ‘uncontrollable passions’ in an attempt to free the ‘soul’ from sorrow. However freed a man can be from his culture, passions, and sense of self no conceptual distancing can shake loose a truly biological sadness. He must first feel it, reign in acceptance, and then channel a river that would harness and wield that great crushing power of the mind’s darkness. What better cannon for this life-altering pouring of the debilitated soul than musical expression? None answer or ‘cure’ exists that will sate all but, music itself will last regardless as long as civilizations document it. The emotional muso serve as intermittent channeling for those similarly afflicted; Perhaps those who realize this slowly, and with fewer words, are constantly in the midst of translation between the inner downward spiraling self and a mountain of achievement they cannot see beyond the swinging of their swords. Majestic Downfall was the setting of the sword of Antiqua under glass by the hand of Querétaro, Mexico musician Jacobo Córdova in 2006 as a great ravine of the affected self, began pouring without control.
Persisting to this day without dam, what flows from this melodic death/doom metal project imbues classic Scandinavian guidance meant not as triumph but a flood to plunge and suffocate the children of ‘heaven’ unto murky abyss, their floating tombs of flesh absorbed as rotten decay into the soup that would poison humanity. Catharsis for the similarly doomed and terror for all fools, Majestic Downfall‘s fifth full-length ‘Waters of Fate’ re-imagines the great successes of Katatonia‘s ‘Dance of December Souls’ unto the enormity of extreme doom metal today. This comes richly realized less than a year behind Córdova‘s newly redefined death metal project Zombiefication releasing perhaps the album of their career in ‘Below the Grief’. This latest solo effort comes with the same sharp ear for change and refinement of performance, likewise placing it among the best and most thoughtfully concieved pieces of his career. This is high praise coming off of ‘…When Dead’ (2015) an enormity of death/doom that signaled a general erasure of depressive black metal elements that characterized Majestic Downfall‘s first three releases and a record that stood shoulder to shoulder with releases from Clouds and Swallow the Sun at the time. ‘Waters of Fate’ begins to feel like a deeper throwback, similar to what October Tide did with ‘Tunnel of No Light’ in returning to that type of lead guitar focused melodic death/doom sound that inspired so many in the early-to-mid 90’s yet extends the ‘ranting’ nature of extreme doom music the same way that Forgotten Tomb did with their albums pre-‘Negative Megalomania’.
To be clear this album owes the bulk of its glory to Swedish influence and I didn’t intend to understate how Katatonia‘s debut expresses throughout ‘Waters of Fate’; “Veins” in particular pulls from the most memorable aspects of songs like “Without God” while avoiding too close a resemblance, it is a nod that I appreciate a great deal. If you are among those rarely sated by melodic death/doom that falls short of the atmosphere of ‘Dance of December Souls’ then there should be massively resonant works within this fifth Majestic Downfall record. There are surely hints of the aforementioned Forgotten Tomb as well, particularly ‘Loves Burial Ground’ but all of these influences come with the heft and fidelity of a modern death/doom ground like Fórn. Some of this sound is owed to the great talents of Necromorbus Studios, who also gave great boost to ‘…When Dead’ and help to yet again redefine Majestic Downfall‘s sound. Equally effective but just an inch more ‘death metal’ compared to a contemporary like Soliloquium I believe this record will generally appeal most to fans of the older schools of non-progressive tinged melodic death/doom, the experience leans more Scandinavian than British in that sense.
Experientially daunting and grand in composition ‘Waters of Fate’ is a densely cyclical beating that uses aggression to avoid becoming a full hour of sullen droop and melodic wank. Lead melodies guide the full listen and define the strongest points of memorability within but this time around I get the sense that what Córdova has to say is just as meaningful to him as his guitar tone. As a simultaneous slight departure from Majestic Downfall‘s norms and greater nostalgic resonance this album brings with it layers of value that add up to a memorable and effective display of nothing new. I enjoyed several listens of this record for what niche it fills and for a few incredibly effective tracks. As such, I can give moderately high recommendation of ‘Waters of Fate’ for those who want melodic death/doom influenced by Swedish classics but not overrun with references or feigned affect. For preview I would suggest starting with “Veins” as the real heart of the listen and the follow-up of the title track; If that combo doesn’t win you over the rest of the album won’t either.
Into the depths of mourning. 4.0/5.0
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