Benthic Realm – CD // DD
Self Released – May 19, 2017
Reviewed by Santiago “Chags” Gutierrez
Krista Van Guilder is no stranger to the music scene, formerly providing her talents to Warhorse, Dahlia’s Dead, Lucubro, Obsidian Halo, and most recently, Second Grave. Second Grave put out some amazing music in the form of two EP’s and a full length, Blacken the Sky, which was their final output. Krista states that “it felt like a natural end to the band was surfacing” soon after the release of Blacken the Sky. Krista jumped at the chance to work with Brian Banfield (drums) after he mentioned that he wanted to start a new project. Second Grave bassist, Maureen Murphy, joined in and Benthic Realm was born soon after a few jamming sessions in Krista’s Massachusetts basement.
Benthic Realm is their three track debut. Krista’s vocal range sounding as wonderfully dynamic as ever. Her guitar work encompassing everything a doom heavy inspired hard rock record should sound like. Stripped down melodies and riffs that encircle the very essence of the genre. Murphy and Banfield forming a very competent rhythm section that holds the spirit of the offering together. The first two tracks, ‘Awakening’ and ‘Don’t Fall in Line’, are rooted in real world concerns. Krista mentions that ‘Awakening’ basically “is asking the question: Are we really aware of what is going on, or are we complacent to let others decide our future for us.?” She further elaborates that “Don’t Fall in Line” is “urging people to do something and not expect that everyone else will fight the fight for them.”
Track three is where the benthic realm is explored. It summons subjugating rhythms and melodies from the darkest of the ocean floor. The album cover fitting the theme nicely. Lyrically, this one comes from a more fictitious angle. “The place where serpents dwell takes you down to hell.” One can’t help notice a certain Lovecraft feel to the overall composition. The sheer helplessness of the whole situation that the song conveys makes this a perfect album closer.
Recorded at Mad Oak Studios and produced by Benny Grotto, Benthic Realm is a strong, first introductory effort that shows how doom-centric hard rock should be delivered. A blueprint, if you will, that should be made note of. This small collection of tunes establishes a foundation of what is hopefully just the beginning of many more to come. Benthic Realm is available on Bandcamp, so go snag yourself a copy, you won’t be disappointed.