Rigor Sardonicous - Apocalypsis Damnare
Paragon Records
Funeral Doom
8 songs (47'07")
Release year: 2005
Paragon Records
Reviewed by Alex

Apocalypsis Damnare is a perfect example of the record that should be labeled “for the fans of the genre only”. As a fan of dark and gloomy music I have only heard of Rigor Sardonicous, the underground cult funeral doom band from New York. Heard of them, but never heard them, and thus was happy at the opportunity to sample the re-recording of Apocalypsis Damnare on Paragon Records, originally issued in 1999.

I did expect slow, cold and torturous music, but I did not expect this. Midway through the album I had to put it away and think if I am “doom” enough. I have managed to eventually get through it, listened to the album a few times, and was never able get on the same page with Rigor Sardonicous. Except for the frozen synth opener Exordium Apocalypsis Damnare is seven tracks of bottom scraping lo-fi lead heavy slow darkness. There is one, count it, tempo change on the whole album, the beginning of Misery. One cannot make out individual guitar riffs behind booming bass and low end frequencies, the music comes at you as one slow shapeless fuzz, even though there are hints of progressions, drumming is one unsophisticated machine, cymbals are rustling noise of shaken iron sheets, and the vocals are so unbelievably low and guttural, they sound just like another downtuned instrument. This music is supposed to represent the end of time, the moment when the last shred of hope and light is gone, when Earth is on the collision course with a killer asteroid and humanity is counting days-hours-minutes until the end of its existence. Supposed to … But why I am not getting this vibe? Why do I hear repetitive under 45 RPM torture of an album?

Perhaps I can offer an explanation. You need to be prepared for this music. Perhaps you need to be in the near-death state of mind to understand this art. You have to be in a catatonic state, lose a loved one, feel crushed by that asteroid I described above to completely comprehend Apocalypsis Damnare. Those who, without any explanation, cavalierly state how this is the best thing since sliced bread are obviously lying. Not for a single second I think that Rigor Sardonicous members are skilled enough only to produce raw garbled dark noise. This music is way too personal. I don’t even know how it is possible to reproduce this live, and how the band tours. You need to be connected to Joseph J Fogarazzo’s brain to comprehend the discharge that is Apocalypsis Damnare. You either have to be at your end or have to possess an unbelievable power of imagination that you are almost there. Then think about what music would pour out of your soul at that moment. As much as I want to believe in a beautiful and enlightened requiem I am leaning more towards desperate, scary, frightening and angst-driven darkness. And as it is your own personal abyss not many other people will feel in tune with it.

Stylistically similar to also unfathomable P.H.O.B.O.S. (although Rigor Sardonicous is all natural without industrial noises and synthetic blips), Rigor Sardonicous is one of the worst musical experiences when you are not ready. Disembowelment and Winter will feel bright compared to this album. You have to go on and apply for your own death row execution, then let Apocalypsis Damnare sink in.

Killing Songs :
This is one slow killer, literally
Alex quoted 30 / 100
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