Showcasing an equal passion for all things Post-Black Metal and American author Edgar Allen Poe, this UK-based one-man army is ready to stun you with his debut full-length album.
“Lo! ’t is a gala night
Within the lonesome latter years!
An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
In veils, and drowned in tears,
Sit in a theatre, to see
A play of hopes and fears,
While the orchestra breathes fitfully
The music of the spheres.” – Edgar Allan Poe – The Conqueror Worm (1843)
Formed in early 2019 by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Ashley “Ash” Shannon with an equal passion for all things Post-Black Metal and American author Edgar Allen Poe, Bristol, UK-based Atmospheric Black Metal one-man army Sepulchre by the Sea has quickly grown from a single idea into a fully-fledged studio project, incorporating many different sounds from atmospheric soundscapes and traditional Black Metal riffing to more eclectic areas such as shoegaze and folk-based pieces. As a matter of fact, the project’s name was inspired by Annabel Lee, the last complete poem composed by Edgar Allan Poe, while another poem, The Conqueror Worm, which by the way is about human mortality and the inevitability of death, was the inspiration for Sepulchre by the Sea’s debut full-length, six-track opus Conqueror Worm, the follow-up to the 2019 demo …And So It Crumbles, creating something larger and more ambitious in scale, spanning nearly an hour and crossing multiple sub genres along the way.
And the project’s Edgar Allan Poe-inspired feast of melancholy and darkness begins in a truly atmospheric way in the opening track I Loved Alone, venturing through the realms of contemporary Post-Metal before Ash begins firing dirty, scorching riffs from his stringed axe and anguished gnarls in paradox with the song’s serene background piano notes. Then Ash hammers his guitar, bass and drums mercilessly in the furious title-track Conqueror Worm, blending the mystery of Atmospheric Black Metal with the violence and heaviness of Black Metal and even Punk Rock, not to mention his growls get even more demonic than before as the music progresses; and you better get ready for 12 minutes of fulminating blast beats, vicious riffs and an endless sense of despair and obscurity in And So It Crumbles, where Ash does an excellent job mixing classic Black Metal with Atmospheric Black Metal and Doom Metal nuances, also presenting Stygian, austere passages that perfectly represent his passion for the work by Edgar Allan Poe turned into extreme music.
Slices of Death is a pensive and enfolding composition by Ash where he focuses on the melody and all small details of the song instead of the usual harshness of extreme music; furthermore, it’s quite easy to sense how personal this harmonious ballad is to him, whereas our talented lone wolf and his Sepulchre by the Sea put the pedal to the metal in the visceral and austere Behind the Walls, enhancing his aggressiveness and rage through his hellish roars and fulminating Black Metal riffage, and ending in the most melancholic way imaginable. And last but (definitely) not least, you better be prepared as Ash will crush your senses for over 17 minutes with the closing tune Plutonian Shores, the icing on the cake in this multi-layered album of Atmospheric Metal where after four minutes of ritualistic sounds Ash comes ripping with his scorching riffage, also showcasing so many breaks, variations, changes in tempo and obscure passages it’s hard to describe the complexity of such grandiose tune in just a few words.
As I like to say, it’s always a pleasure to review the work by one-man bands like Sepulchre by the Sea, mainly because you can easily feel and enjoy all the hard work, all the passion for the music he plays, the musical evolution from song to song and, above all, all his respect and admiration for one of the greatest poets of all time (and the most beloved one by the metal community hands down). Hence, in order to show your support to Edgar Allan Poe’s right-hand man in extreme music, go check what Ash is up to on Facebook, and purchase your copy of Conqueror Worm from his own BandCamp page, from the Anthrazit Records’ BandCamp page, or from Amazon, and don’t forget you can also stream this fantastic display of Atmospheric Black Metal in full on Spotify anytime you want, savoring every single second of it like you would enjoy each word from Poe’s vast collection of amazing tales and poems.
Best moments of the album: Conqueror Worm and Plutonian Shores.
Worst moments of the album: None.
Released in 2020 Anthrazit Records
1. I Loved Alone 6:40
2. Conqueror Worm 6:40
3. And So It Crumbles 12:07
4. Slices of Death 7:34
5. Behind the Walls 7:49
6. Plutonian Shores 17:14
Ashley Shannon – vocals, all instruments