Jupiterian’s early work (the “Archaic” EP, and first LP “Aphotic”) is fairly straightforward Doom Metal. Extremely enjoyable, but not overly unique, at least not to my ears. A bit of a Death Metal vibe on those records, especially on the vocals, and a lot of great guitar work. Major kudos in the riff department as well. In between “Aphotic” and their next LP (which we’ll get to momentarily), Jupiterian released another EP called “URN”, on which is an excellent cover of Black Sabbath’s “Behind The Wall of Sleep”. This marked a turning point for the band, expanding into more atmospheric territory, heavy on the ambiance, paying a bit more attention to the overall feel of the music.
Jupiterian released their second full length, “Terraforming” in 2017 on Transcending Obscurity Records, which was (and continues to be) an absolute masterpiece of Atmospheric Doom. “Terraforming” is a monster of a record, brilliant at every angle, and the kind of album you can listen to for days and hear something new on each spin. That being the case, needless to say, expectations were high for their follow-up.
This brings us to “Protosapien”, which will be unleashed upon the world this September, once again by Transcending Obscurity.
The opening seconds of the LP make it pretty clear that you’re about to be transported to some place destructively epic, by building anticipation and tension with a simple percussive bottom end piano key, and a minimal amount of synthesizer, complete with buzzing flies and subtle crawling insect noises.
This “Homecoming” leads us “Mere Humans” right into a towering Death/Doom riff that will have fans of “Terraforming” shaking their heads with approval within seconds. By the time the vocals arrive, you’re already half-convinced of being in the midst of another master work. A fact that’s solidified by an almost ambient guitar breakdown that leans the album in a Doomier direction. The aesthetic here, and well into the next track (“Voidborn”), closely echoes the cover art, created by the unspeakably talented Mariusz Lewandowski (Bell Witch, Mizmor, Abigail Williams, Rogga Johansson).
“Capricorn” plays off of a simple but highly effective Doom riff, and there is a feeling akin to what it may feel like riding into battle with enemy riders approaching from all sides. You’re in danger, but you’ve got the power of the riff on your side, and as the vocal begins, you are prepared to crush the opposition!
Despite the colossal intensity of the first four tracks, “Starless” is a stand-out among them. The guitar work here is exceptional, full of murkiness and melody. Up to this point Jupiterian has been taking us somewhere. As “Starless” weaves its way through one effortless transition after another, it becomes obvious that we are nearing our destination. There are still some obstacles to overcome, which the band navigates perfectly, leading us finally and fantastically into the treacherous territory containing the “Earthling Bloodline”.
We have arrived, and Jupiterian wastes no time making us feel unwelcome in this dark place. It’s terrifying, but it feels like home. The band is here to help expel any demons that may be lurking in the basement under the stairs.
Half-way through, though the landscape appears unchanged, there is a triumphant feeling present. Then, almost as if the band felt you weren’t happy having spent this much time in the company of such glorious music, the album ends abruptly, bringing about the desire to begin the journey all over again. This, of course, is the mark of greatness.
“Protosapien” is as close to flawless as a record of such magnitude can get. There is light shining through even its darkest moments. A flicker of hope needed so desperately in times of such turmoil and uncertainty throughout the world. I highly recommend the purchase of this record as soon as humanly possible.
Rating – 5/5