Lampreic Pool, Rob Petruso’s Blackened Atmospheric Doom Side Project, Juxtaposes Crushing Vocals and Soft Melodies to Ultimately Fend off Those Limiting Creativity to a Measured Box

Best described as a mix of atmospheric, doom, and experimental, Lampreic Pool is the epitome of the independent solo metal scene. Masterful usage of the guitar and an epic choreography of drums and chord progressions creates a delightful mix of atmospheric musicality. This is exactly something you’d expect to find along your trudges through the murky depths of Bandcamp.

The difficulty of the attached subgenre category does not reflect the accessibility of Lampreic Pool’s signature style. While challenging to put a pin on, the subgenres used to categorize Psychological Dissection are vague and nearly redundant, as the release is very uncategorizable. The description process is rather optimized by citing the feelings this EP invokes for the listener. Epic, wandering, and grandiose are three that come to mind right now.

The vocal inclusions on the EP are unusual but fitting, and the reasoning for this is twofold. Firstly, they are found very much sparsely throughout the record. Petruso’s creative path was clearly plotted to move around the vocal sections, thinking with instrumentation first. The ambient song segments and the soaring but driven lead guitar work takes the cake on this release for me. When the vocals do eventually come in, you are conditioned to enjoy their inclusion, while maintaining a focus on the melody at hand. This approach allows your ears to follow the musical patterns, especially along with the vocals, so the track does not seem lost and empty when the singer decides to take a break. Secondly, the vocal production and mix choices are rather unconventional for this type of work within the metal sphere. While many artists choose to have their singing at the very front of the mix and subsequently emphasized by a background of instruments, Petruso opts to keep them buried behind a wall of wandering lead guitar work and melody. Thus, the vocal inclusions serve to stand and make up the music’s base, only to emphasize the soaring, epic instrumentation that comes forth from these singing moments.

The release’s composition is also fairly unorthodox, which presents an immediate feeling of refreshment for seasoned metal listeners. While that guitar-based, heavy distortion, aggressive music from the ‘80s that we all know and love was originally pioneered with an attitude of the future, artists within the decades that followed have unfortunately plucked their instruments with a mind of the past. Petruso’s bedroom project has luckily not taken this path. While, as mentioned above, the EP can be traced back to many different subgenres such as doom, atmospheric, or a soft death/black, it does not fall flat from there. The project pulls elements from these established sounds up together, culminating in an epic audial journey, lasting about 30 minutes long. The fluid mix ultimately invokes a feeling of hearing something new, rather than a variation of a style pioneered years ago.

The diversity on the included tracks is a feeling created by the many flowing moods and parts of Psychological Dissection, as the name fittingly suggests. The album is divided into ambient interludes, soft introductions, rumbling blast beats, and somber yet lifting melodies. These moving parts, best observed during the first half of “Rebirth of the Marred”, work together to create a creepy but altogether ghostly atmosphere that is best suited for a morning listen or as a break from the chaos of your catalogue. The track mentioned above does all of the above perfectly and well-deserves its place at the beginning of the EP.

I will refrain from breaking apart Psychological Dissection any further, as it very much does that to you during its play time. This is not a release that is easily separated in parts or that offers the opportunity to rave about “that insane riff at 1:45”. Psychological Dissection is meant to be consumed in completion, as its portions conjoin at ends to create a free-flowing piece of auditory expansion for the listener. It is very much a diverse record, with its sudden halts between crushing blast beats and ambient interludes, or the travelling solos that meander through the underlying drum patterns. This diversity is not necessarily felt, however, as its portions meld together so smoothly.

This seamless nature is either a product of lengthy focused work or is a happy accident, as Petruso cites that the four song EP is a compilation written over the span of a year. While I’m sure that they were each individually created with an eventual EP compilation in mind, the songs’ creative directions are undoubtfully broad. This is not a negativity, however, as the album just works. “Rebirth of the Marred” and “Flaw of the Pride” stand with a fairly standard song time, both running at just over six minutes in length. You are then blessed with “Bliss”, a two-minute ambient instrumental piece that carries you in between tracks. Finally, “Allocation of the Conscious” is offered, a monolithic thirteen minute song that wanders as you are introduced to its individual parts. There really is a lot of everything on this release, but it doesn’t push to the point where its motley of ingredients fail to create a beautiful musical entity.

Psychological Dissection’s auditory landscape invokes feelings of grandeur and manages to bring the listener along with the soaring music. I find myself being grabbed by its content, even if it is simply occupying the background and is very much not at the forefront of my mental capacity. It sucks you in and refrains from letting you go until its last second is played. Pick up this release on Lampreic Pool’s Bandcamp page, Psychological Dissection is offered at a “name your price” barrier. While you can download it for free, its quality far surmounts the standard cost for a thirty minute digital download.

Verdict: 9.6/10

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