Selenite - Mahasamadhi
Seance Records
Gothic Funeral Doom
5 songs (48' 34")
Release year: 2019
Reviewed by Andy

A side project of Golden Dawn's Stefan Traunmueller, Selenite is one its author describes as "massively meditative". A funeral doom aesthetic meets Traunmueller's gothic stylings on Mahasamadhi to build up towering, cliff-sized riffs of grief, with nary an upbeat track on the album. It's heavy-handed, especially during the mantra-chanting (yes, there is such a thing here, on Channeling Chants From Beyond)), but the atmosphere striven for here would make any attempts at delicacy a sign of weakness. And there is certainly none of that.

A few other reviewers have described Mahasamadhi as "mysterious". I suppose that's one way to describe an album where one can never quite tell what is coming around the corner, and melodies start and end in unexpected places. Under a constant whine of organ chords like the soundtrack to an old horror movie, riffs emerge from unknown depths, stopping at times to take up a new descent back into the abyss. Traunmueller usually adorns the tracks with death metal vocals at the bottom of his range, but sometimes moves to clean vocals, smoothly mixed into layers of gray despair.

The biggest and most ambitious track is the second to last. In addition to the mantras mentioned earlier, it features a piano interlude with a surprisingly melodic chorus before Traunmueller gets back into high gear; but some might find Final Reckoning, a duet with the powerful voice of Antonia Gust rising over the tectonic shifting of Traunmueller's riffing and harsh vocals. It was hard for me to follow Mahasamadhi through such a path of oppressive grief, but its gothic doom atmosphere, especially on the last two tracks, is expertly woven.

Killing Songs :
Third Eye Open, Final Reckoning
Andy quoted 82 / 100
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