Conclave – Dawn of Days (Review)

Conclave - Dawn of DaysThis is the second album from US sludge metallers Conclave.

Now here’s an unexpected treat for yours truly.

I’ve had no prior experience with Conclave, and was initially drawn to Dawn of Days purely because of its artwork. Imagine my surprise when, on closer inspection, it was revealed that the band contains the bassist/vocalist of the mighty Warhorse, (whose 2001 album As Heaven Turns to Ash… is an absolute classic of the genre as far as I’m concerned). Anyway, this means that I absolutely HAD to check out Conclave properly, and I very much like what I discovered.

Conclave play a mix of doom, sludge, and stoner metal, and they do so with an emphasis on heaviness, but without relying purely on heaviness.

The band peel off some mighty riffs, heavy enough to crush cars. Melodic leads and solos squeal, duel, and burst out of the music like sparks of colour or molten metal. Conclave can deal out a beating, but they do so with style. It’s not all about the band’s ability to dish out crushing punishment either; nuance and atmosphere are included naturally across the album, from acoustic enhancements to textured, mood-driven heaviness. The apex of this is the massive Suicide Funeral, which culminates in an epic expression of cascading emotive melody that I won’t forget any time soon.

Each track is a monster, channelling the band’s various influences into compelling doom songs that are really satisfying to listen to. Conclave’s atmospheric and emotive approach to heavy music takes strengths from doom, sludge, and stoner, and smashes them into something that is greater than the sum of its parts. Add to this the singer’s instantly familiar roar, (which sounds stronger than ever), and you have a record that’s very rewarding and very enjoyable.

The end result of all of the above is a collection of five songs that effortlessly merge heaviness, atmosphere, and melodic depth. Conclave have not disappointed me at all, quite the opposite in fact. If you’re a fan of doom, sludge, or stoner, then don’t sleep on Dawn of Days.

Very highly recommended.

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