A Thousand Sufferings – Stilte (Review)

A Thousand Sufferings - StilteA Thousand Sufferings are a Belgian blackened doom band and this is their third album.

I’ve enjoyed seeing the development of A Thousand Sufferings over the years.  Starting with 2015’s sludgy Burden, and then on to 2018’s increasingly blackened Bleakness, the band made a good impression. It’s now 2021 and we have Stilte; the synthesis of black metal and doom has reached its logical conclusion, and the 41 minutes of material on this new album is the band’s richest and most engrossing so far.

A Thousand Sufferings have developed into quite the blackened doom metal force on Stilte. These new songs are layered with textured melodies that speak of great emotional depths, while the anguished vocals lash out in pain and horror at an unjust world. Of the latter, these are probably the biggest remnant of sludge metal still to be found in the band’s music. The singer’s sometimes atypical style falls somewhere between caustic sludge and depressive black metal. This means that his voice is bound to be an acquired taste for some, but there’s no doubting the emotive force it has.

The songs are well-written and show a keen understanding of atmosphere and of how to build mood and feeling. You can tell that a lot of time and care has gone into the shaping of the music. The songs are full of emotive texture, nuanced playing, engaging melody, and blackened atmospheric presence. The interplay between light and heavy parts is enthralling. I’m not sure what’s happened to the band, but their mastery of melody and evocative atmospheric dynamics has increased dramatically. Whatever dark pacts they have made to accomplish this has paid off, and Stilte is a very impressive and enjoyable piece of work.

These new gloomy songs are the best that the band have penned. They have an emotive power that’s shockingly well-realised.

Very highly recommended.

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