Ever since thoroughly enjoying 2016’s At This Great Depth, I’ve been looking forward to something more substantial from Soothsayer. And now it’s here in the form of Echoes of the Earth – 52 minutes of atmospheric doom sludge metal.
Soothsayer’s music combines doom and sludge in mood-driven ways, crafting emotive soundscapes from walls of sound and layered texture. This is music that’s highly atmospheric, charged with raw energy, and delivered with multifaceted appeal. The band are not above unleashing some choice riffs, either.
The music takes its time, building momentum and releasing energy and tension with cathartic relief. This doesn’t mean that the pace is uniformly slow, far from it in fact. When Soothsayer are at their heaviest, the rich distortion is unleashed with the power of crushing waves of potent force. When they’re not, the band create expressive and evocative tapestries, filled with nuance and subtlety. Sprinklings of psychedelic, progressive, post-metal, and experimental moments can be found across these captivating songs, and each track has its own very well-formed personality.
Two of my favourite tracks are probably War of the Doves, which sounds unhinged, barely moments away from descending into madness, and Six of Nothing, which is a monstrous hybrid of brutal death/doom and sludge atmosphere. Every song is a highlight for its own unique reasons, however. The album has a broad range, beginning with the opening drone of Fringe and ending with the destructive malevolence of True North. In between this the band never play it safe, instead opting for a heartfelt exploration of sonic doom/sludge extremity that always hits the spot.
The vocalist’s impassioned performance is augmented by a multitude of different guests, including Eugene Robinson, Dave Ingram, Ralf Garcia, and Paul Catten. It all adds to the music’s diversity of experience. Even without these extras, Soothsayer’s singer gives a riveting, emotive performance that infuses the music with a real heart that the apocalyptic music cascades around.
Echoes of the Earth is a very impressive listen, and has exceeded my already high expectations. Soothsayer are extremely talented at what they do, and this is an essential listen for any fan of atmospheric heavy music.