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A Dream Of Poe : A Waltz For Apophenia

Dense and menacing, but masterfully well-contrasted, A Dream Of Poe release their best album yet.

Based in Edinburgh, but hailing from the Azores, A Dream Of Poe are a Portuguese Doom project fronted by multi-instrumentalist Miguel Santos. As the name of the band suggests, they have developed a brand of cerebral, literary Doom with a twisted, dreamlike quality to it that Edgar Alan would surely have appreciated. This latest release their third full length follows relatively soon after 2015's 'An Infinity Emerged', which was reviewed positively on these pages earlier this year. Another year in one of the UK's most gothic cities certainly appears to have inspired a dark and menacing album. The crushingly heavy 'Worlds End Close', the first track from the album to be made available to fans as an official video, references the infamous alleyway that led from Edinburgh's Old Town, and represented a lifelong impassable barrier for the city poor.

'A Waltz for Apophenia' starts off peacefully enough, as the sound of waves gently lapping against the shore ushers in opening track, 'La Morte Blanche' before a beautiful acoustic intro and crooned, sorrowful vocals beckon the listener into the twisted dreamscape of A Dream Of Poe's nightmarish vision. A few minutes in, a malevolent, down-tempo Doom riff kicks in and propels the track into darker territory. Vocals are emotive and affecting, complimenting the gothic atmosphere Santos creates on each of the instruments all the instruments on the album, in fact - he plays. As the track draws to a close, it morphs back into the acoustic riff that it began with, the contrast in styles proving effective in highlighting the heavier passages with light and shade.

It's a technique that's used to great effect throughout the album, with different styles thrown into the Poe melting pot. If anything, the A Dream Of Poe sound, which was already impressive, has progressed and developed since previous outing, 'An Infinity Emerged'. The epic 'Abyss, the Destroyer', in particular, with its interchange between clean and harsh, growled vocals, and some excellent soloing work from Santos, skilfully creates an ambience of despairing Gothic Doom. It's these extra touches, elements of darkness and light, that drive the album and create what has become very much a signature sound of A Dream Of Poe. The clean and harsh vocals, the thumping Doom riffs and the melancholy acoustic work, the gothic keyboard effects, and the dark, nightmarish lyrical content all serve to keep the listener interested in what could otherwise have been quite a dense, impenetrable album.

When you need a dictionary to look up one of the words in the album title, you know you're going to be in for something with some substance. And so it proves with 'A Waltz for Apophenia' (the human tendency to perceive patterns within random data there, I've saved you the trouble) which is an album with a lot going on, both musically and lyrically, and will reward repeated listening. If you liked A Dream Of Poe's earlier albums, you will almost certainly like this, in fact it may well become your favourite. If you're looking for a visceral instant hit of pounding, swaggering Doom, this may not be for you, but fans of brooding, atmospheric Doom, will be more than satisfied. Literary Doom. Is that a genre? A Dream Of Poe just made it one.

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Reviewer's rating: 8/10


Tracklist :
1. La Morte Blanche
2. Abyss, My Lover
3. Pareidolia
4. Vultos II
5. Abyss, The Destroyer
6. The Voice Of Fire
7. A Valsa Dos Corvos
8. Worlds End Close

Duration : Approx. 63 minutes

Visit the A Dream Of Poe bandpage.

Reviewed on 2016-12-05 by Nick Harkins
Rotten Copper
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