Burial in the Woods – Church of Dagon (Review)

Burial in the Woods - Church of DagonBurial in the Woods is a one man blackened doom band, and this is his debut album.

Brought to us by the mastermind behind Asche der Welten, this new project’s debut release features four tracks in total. The first three each clock in at 7-9 minutes each, while the last is an imposing 24 minutes. At 49 minutes in total, Church of Dagon is a diverse and inventive listen, one which is definitely worth experiencing.

Each of the first three songs has its own character and personality, and each stands on its own. It’s a diverse collection of tracks, and a very well-realised and delivered one. The fourth track, however, stands alone as something different. While the first three are HP Lovecraft-inspired and are fully original compositions, the fourth song is apparently a cover of some sort and features Turkish lyrics and a whole host of expanded influences, sounds, and instrumentation. It’s a wonderful ride into an exotic world of blackened doom metal. The same of which can be said for the album as a whole, actually.

The music is melodic and heavy, taking atmosphere and a cloak of darkness from black metal’s parentage, while the doom side of the equation gives the music weight and substance, as well as a different sort of old-school atmosphere; this is doom metal inspired by the 90s Peaceville era, rather than any other type of more modern doom that you might be considering. This, of course, goes hand in hand with the blackened influences. The latter are equally old-school, reminding me in various places of a few different bands from the 90s, but never in an overt, plagiarised way. I was always a fan of Agathodaimon’s 1999 album Higher Art of Rebellion, and in some ways Church of Dagon reminds me of this, at least now and again.

A variety of melodies abound, inspired by both black and doom metal, and frequently blur the lines between the two. Acting as the gel that glues that two parent styles together into one, the songs use their melodic influences well to craft immersive and enjoyable songs. As well as these guitar melodies, organs and synths are frequently used to add extra layers and deeper atmosphere. The artist behind the band knows his work well, and he weaves these into the other musical elements very effectively across the tracks.

The vocals mix blackened screams with cleans, chants, and other vocalisations across the album. As with the music, the artist clearly knows what he’s doing.

If you’d have told me that this is a long-lost recording from an obscure and now-defunct band from the 90s, it wouldn’t be a stretch to believe it.

Very highly recommended.

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