PRAESEPE - As Above So Below / The 6th Extinction (Self released / DAMNED PAGES Distro CD 2015)
Damn, this CD was lying around, waiting to be listened, for more than half a year. First I ignored it and had some better stuff to play. Later I completely forgot about it… but when one day I decided to play it, it didn’t come out from the CD player for whole week. It turned out to be a very good album! Yeah, I love such surprises, especially from bands I was never so much into. I only knew Praesepe a little, I had some of their early stuff, but haven’t played it in years. But this new material really impressed me. But there’s a funny thing about this CD, which I have. It’s titled “As Above So Below” and it’s not really an official release, even though it’s on nice digipak and is even handnumbered (my copy has number 053). Only recently some parts of this material were released on CD by Damned Pages Distro, with the same artwork, but without two songs. So, my copy titled “As Above So Below” has seven tracks, while the official release of this album titled “The 6th Extinction” has just five tracks. And it’s a shame they left these extra songs behind, because especially one of them is just super fuckin awesome and for me it’s the best part of the whole “As Above So Below” CD haha!
So, let me start briefly about those two extra songs (which I think will end up on a split or something??). First one is called “Shining” and it’s obviously a main musical theme from the Kubrick’s classic horror movie. And this is my favourite part of the whole “As Above So Below”. It sounds just exceptionally amazing and was played in that utterly doomy, monumental, super dark way that gives me chills every time I hear it. Do you remember this excellent theme with almost funeral like aura?! What a fantastic piece and Praesepe played it perfectly. Another extra song is called “Grawitacja” and it’s a black metal version of song from quite famous, but totally annoying (for me at least) Polish singer. I always hated her voice, so I don’t even remember this song from its original version, I just don’t care. Here it’s been played in very much harsh, fast black metal way, luckily without annoying female vocals. It’s just decent version, unrecognizable probably and that’s it. I could live without it.
And now the main part of “As Above So Below”, which also ended up as official release called “The 6th Extinction”. Well, I must say that Praesepe sounds very mature here and like a band, which surely has a lot of potential and great stuff to show, with many fantastic ideas and skills. From the first song I was listening to this CD with a great interest and Praesepe caught my attention fully. Most of their songs are quite long, even up to ten minutes, but they never sound tiresome or boring, all due to the fact that the band was able to bring something interesting to the table, mixing death, black and even doom metal in very cool style. The way Praesepe builds songs, keeping the tension and diversity through them, is just absolutely top notch, in my opinion, and I like it. And the diversity is the key here. Majority of this album is very melodic, but you’ll find here also aggressive stuff, even blasting parts. Take “Universe 25”, one of my favourite songs from the album. It just has everything, starting with acoustic guitar passages, great melodic pieces, some doom riffs, some blackish blasts with very harsh vocals, etc. So, it’s very diverse and you won’t be able to put this music into just one box, as it has so much more to offer. And that’s something I can say about every song, like the brilliant opener “Rzeki niebiesko-krwawe” or “Something”. The final song “Rzeki niebiesko-krwawe (Reprise)” is very acoustic based, so it is even more different. There may be some parts, which I don’t like so much, like the opening riff for “Dźwięki absurdu”, which sounds just too melodic for me, almost reminding me bands like Arch Enemy. It sounds odd especially as the following part is so harsh and black metallish. This is probably my least favourable track on the whole album, but it doesn’t mean it’s bad or something. It’s still very good, I think, just less than such “Rzeki niebiesko-krwawe”.
All in all “As Above So Below” / “The 6th Extinction” is very easily listenable, catchy and memorable album, with some absolutely brilliant fragments and I can definitely recommend it. You can get a copy from Damned Pages Distro and I know that the band also self released a vinyl version, limited to 100 copies, so be hurry.
Standout tracks: “Shining”, “Rzeki niebiesko-krwawe”, “Universe 25”
Final rate: 80/100