[Review] Amygdolor Look 'Beyond the Horizon' for Dread-Evoking Debut EP

Amygdolor prides themselves on creating atmosphere in their music. The duo of Baron (bass / synths / drums / piano) and Draugen (vocals / lyrics) blend doom metal, black metal, and synthwave to craft a unique tincture of despair-inducing music, a soundtrack to a deep descent, rather than a charge into battle, as a great deal of black metal tends to be. As a horror-inspired project, the band hits the notes of suspense and dread that they need to, while inspiring a tense, uneasy atmosphere all along the way. On their debut EP Beyond the Horizon, Amygdolor achieves a new sort of brutality, as it is violent in a much more subtle, eating away at one’s insides fashion.

Beginning the descent is “The Dead Sing,” a song that would not feel out of place in a Castlevania or any other gothic horror-style game. The organs add a touch of old-school emotional weight, evoking visions of stained glass, as the bass guitar rattles and Drauger howls. The track recognizes the lo-fi beginnings of the world’s most infamous subgenre, while crafting it in their own bleak image.

On the title track, the synths take a piercing, sharp command of the track, giving an almost orchestral flavor to this doombringer of a number. A creeping piano line slinks underneath, adding more of a classic, slow-burning dread to this affair. By the end, the synths and bass work together to bring things to a close, ending the nightmare brought forth by this night terror of a track.

“Whispers from Beneath” keeps a diminished percussion line throughout, as the bass rattles and booms across the mix. Of everything on this EP, this track is the most doom and gloom one will get, and that fact is driven home by the tenuous piano line and the ever-present low tones. As the drums add rides and the vocals turn to low growls, the whispers become screams, and there is no escape at this juncture.

As the first in a series of songs based on the lore of The Changeling, “The Cold Dark” is a cinematic, soundtrack-akin piece with a gruesome piano line over more of that lo-fi bass guitar work. It’s dreadfully short, at only two minutes, but as the first in what is promised to be the first in a trilogy, it’s a fine introduction to the concept. Finally, an ambient version of “The Dead Sing,” entitled “The Catalyst,” is named as such for its being the starting point for the band’s existence. It morphed into “The Dead Sing” in due time, but were it not for this version, there would be no Amygdolor. Given its ambient nature, there is greater focus put on the synths and the percussive elements, making a cold, crisp atmospheric number.

Black metal is a blood and guts genre in execution and extra-curricular activity, but Amygdolor’s brand of the genre is a more visceral, more cerebral take on things. There will be blood, there will be violence, but you won’t see it coming with all of the fog, all of the drabness invoked by this work. It’s worth mentioning that this EP comes with several visualizer videos and pieces of promotional artwork, so if there was ever a time to get excited about the two-man doom crew that is Amygdolor, now is it.

Beyond the Horizon is available now on the band’s Bandcamp profile.