This is atmospheric doom/death with an emphasis on long, slow songs that are filled with morbid beauty and hopeless despair.
The pace is torturously slow, but we like it that way. The band take their time to carefully build atmosphere through relentless heavy distortion and lighter, more restrained passages; frequently combined together.
The songs are charged with negative energy, as the band do everything within their power to craft feelings of loss, misery and deep suffering and torment. They seem to be very effective at what they do, and the 61 minutes on Ectoplasm is full of bad vibes.
Even when the band do occasionally put their foot on the accelerator it never actually lightens the mood or changes the feelings of dark despondency that hang over this release like a black cloud.
With a brooding and monumental sound there’s a lot for aficionados of the style to get their teeth into. Ectoplasm is full of substance and worth exploring as the band pile in all of the atmosphere and woe that they can grab.
Vocals? These are mainly growls and screams, but there’s some considerable variety on here.
The screams sound like desperate dying cries of damned sinners. It’s quite unnerving in many ways. They’re almost as unhinged and pain-filled as those to be found in some of Deinonychus’ work. Other screams also appear, but they are more traditional, if you can call them that.
The deep growls are cavernous and brutal, leaving no uncertainty about your fate should you even try to suggest that there might even remotely be some last remnant of hope, somewhere, maybe. Cleaner and semi-clean vocals are also used, with some variety in the delivery. These take the form of everything from anguished laments to chants and sung passages. Female vocals also appear periodically, further adding to the richness of vocal diversity.
There may be many different types of vocals on this release, but they all fit into the band’s framework and they all fit into the theme of despair and hopelessness that the band exude like a dark oil.
This is a well-crafted slab of weighty doom/death with a firm emphasis on the doom side of the equation.
I recommend you give this a listen before the negativity gets too much and the band disappear down some dark hole somewhere. Hopefully that won’t happen, as on this album Suffer Yourself have got the formula just right and have a lot to continue to exist for.