“The souls that throng the flood
Are those to whom, by fate, are other bodies ow’d:
In Lethe’s lake they long oblivion taste,
Of future life secure, forgetful of the past.
Long has my soul desir’d this time and place,
To set before your sight your glorious race,
That this presaging joy may fire your mind
To seek the shores by destiny design’d.” —Virgil, The Aeneid
These words to Aeneas, spoken to him by his father Anchise’s spirit after a long journey to Elysium with the legendary golden bough, is something of a troublesome passage in The Aeneid for me. Souls that drink from the river Lethe, the river of forgetfulness, have the burden of their memories freed so that they may return to the world of the living and be reincarnated. For those who suffered through life, who are weighed down with guilt or pain whose consequences weren’t enough to doom them to Tartarus, the ability to forget and move on is a welcoming vision. However, there is a more foreboding end to it for me: What of those who strive to be good men, who fought in life to live well, to attain greatness on some level? The world has been no doubt made a better place for those continuing to live, but is existence still not as meaningless in this endless cycle as it would be if there were no afterlife at all if the final reward is still to have the slate wiped clean, to begin all over again? Would our souls not be granted remembrance until they grow corrupted enough to become wicked? Perhaps this is the hopeless “undercurrent” spoken of here by Arche—a new Finnish funeral-doom trio made up of members of Profetus and Razorblend—or perhaps their inspirations lay silent, brazened by ambiguity.
Indeed, the lyrics behind the track seem to hint more at the undercurrent of reality that surrounds us that we can’t see—something that we can only vaguely grasp at those moments of deja vu that we all occasionally encounter (“A faint sensation as if a distant memory”). Their sound—a funeral-doom standard with a focus on melody that retains a sense of rawness, much like their Finnish contemporaries—is impressive both in scope and quality, especially for a debut, while never resorting to the same aimless synth approach that recent projects from the genre have opted to follow. Below, you’ll find the premiere for the video for “Plains of Lethe,” the A-side to their debut two-track tape on Tennessee’s Graceless Recordings: an imprint from Mike Meacham of Loss.