Well, this is very good. Let’s make that clear from the start.
Providing a sludgy doom metal mix that comes from the same school of thought as bands like Neurosis, Isis and Cult of Luna, II: Vanished is a relatively short, (for this kind of thing), foray into doomy-waters that’s very satisfying indeed.
Although the band certainly share some of the post-metal attributes of the aforementioned triumvirate, Longhouse concentrate more on the doom/sludge sides of the equation, creating songs that are heavy, downbeat and full of drawn out emotive strength.
In some ways it’s hard to oversell something like this. If you’re a fan of monolithic music that seems to cause tectonic shifts just by being itself, and you also like this to be swaddled in a strong emotional blanket provided by rich and resplendent melodies, then this is certainly for you.
The vocals come straight from the black metal school of shrieking and screaming, (reminding me of Dopethrone in that sense). They cut across the music like knives, providing a fiercely aggressive edge to music that’s frequently emotive and atmospheric. The juxtaposition works a treat.
Clean vocals can be heard on the final song The Vigil, adding yet another dimension to the band’s music, along with a traditional doom metal feel.
The band are not above upping the pace either, on occasion. When they do the sludge metal comes to the fore, raising the aggression levels and really instilling the urge to headbang in the listener. I like that on this album you can easily lose yourself in the dark atmospheres they create at one moment, while the next you can rock out with the best of them to some nicely balanced heavy riffs. Yes, Longhouse know a good riff when they hear one.
This is an album that’s an extremely accomplished and enjoyable listen. For a great mix of sludgy doom with progressive, post-metal and atmospheric elements, Longhouse might very well be one of my new favourites.
Very highly recommended this one is.