Going back to 2008 in Genk, Belgium, Splendidula emerged with their blend of Traditional Doom and Alternative Rock, mixed with Sludge and Psychedelic drones that grabbed the fans of experimental music. Following the release of the debut album in 2013, some drastic line up changed contributed to an evolution of the music to involve Doom and Post Rock along with some vocal heaviness being added for some extra oomph.
Following this the follow-up album Post Mortem was released in 2018 and discussed on this new sound along with the incredible vocal provided by Kristien Cools that is contrasted by the growling sounds created by Pieter Houben and the band have swiftly followed this up with Somnus, a 6 track offering that engages you for the entire 43 minutes it spans.
As the guitars begin to sound, the reverb is joined by a haunting second guitar and then the vocal by Cools begins to bewitch in stunning fashion as the souring and at times horrifying notes take their hold. All the time that this is happening, the dark and deep guitars continue to gnaw at you. Immediately you realise that this is going to be a gloomy offering.
As the pace trudges along and the instruments keep you under their control, that hypnotising vocal continues to weave its way into the subconscious and is joined occasionally by an equally haunting and powerful Houben that can become a gravelly growl in the blink of an eye.
Whilst all of this going on, Joachim Taminau occasionally takes a break from his crushing drumming performance and throws a sample into the mix and it works incredibly well. This unpredictability keeps your brain working and seems to be a way for the music to take an ever more controlling grip.
Somnus is a captivating and enchanting album that will appeal to fans of Doom, Sludge, Post Rock and Atmospheric Blackened Metal but really should be heard by fans of heavy and dark music. There is no way that this release should be restrained by pigeonholes as it covers so much more than some narrow genres. Splendidula has created something that is so much more than an album, this is an emotional experience and has me gripped to the point where I now a huge fan of this band.