It’s not often that three simple sequencer notes ignite a firestorm of doom and spine-chilling melancholy, and yet, this is just what The Sun and The Mirror has done with Dissolution to Salt and Bone. Sarah and Reggie Townley fuse cello with doom metal guitar, bass, drums, and richly ambient electronics in a truly mystical oeuvre that begins unassumingly, and yet resounds with brutally dark dolor and suffering suffused throughout the album. The loss of family as a key impetus in the album’s creation quickly shows; describing the album as “an offering of gratitude just as much as an expression of grief,” the burbling rage, the despondency of loss, all of this and more breathes and seethes throughout the massive, transfigurative journey that is Dissolution to Salt and Bone. The two “Interval” tracks feature didgeridoos, synthesized pads, and cello as something of a palate cleanser to ready listeners for the next step of the voyage. “Currents” begins the droning doom, a plaintive three-note progression leading upwards for some time as the haunting vocals and strings resound in the emptiness of the sonic expanse. When the guitar finally joins in with shrill, washed out squeals atop the main riffage and the muted thump of a kick, the tension truly begins to build… and yet, in this almost 18-minute masterpiece, this is only the beginning. Reggie’s vocals are lush, haunting, absolutely frisson-inducing. The sheer variety of sonic textures is mind-boggling, especially in how harmoniously they come together in the heaviest and most ethereal fashion, here offering the necessary kudos to Z.V. House for the masterful production. It’s 12 minutes into “Currents” that everything is stripped back to that basic three-note sequence, echoing on its lonesome before the beating of skins, the swansong of the cello, and the brimstone belch of guitar and bass thunder in a goosebump-producing sonic skullfuck of a climax. The fact that Sarah and Reggie are the only two members involved in its composition make the sheer scope and ambition behind the album even more impressive; truly, it sounds like a five-piece band firing on all cylinders. Although equally as long, “Katherinella Angustri” skews more to the ambient side with cello, synthesized textures, and cymbal work weirding the journey from brimstone to somewhere more in the netherverse, gritty synths finally searing and cutting through to lay the way for Black Sabbath-inspired bass atop brutally downplayed drums, a war march with some warlock incanting across a sprawling army. Unmistakably a doom-fueled dirge, much like “Currents,” “Katherinella Angustri” is a slow burn of powerfully heavy melancholia, tribal drumming, and agonized vocals, displaying shades of ISIS, Electric Wizard, and a ketamine-infused KMFDM. Simply put, any fan of doom, prog, drone, or just heavy-as-fuck music owes it to themselves to listen to Dissolution to Salt and Bone – you will not regret it.