This is the debut album from French doom metal band Indigo Raven.
Featuring a member of Mourir, Indigo Raven deliver 43 minutes of doom on Looking for Transcendence, (including bonus track, a Mazzy Star cover). The promo blurb states that the “trio’s sound emerges from the Peaceville Three’s influence with a modern sludge approach”, and this is a suitable description of what you’ll find on this album. To this I’d also add a certain 80s pop sensibility that makes for songs that stick in the head.
The songs offer a modern take on classic doom influences, while also infusing them with an occult, ritualistic feel. You can hear a range of influences, old and new, across the album. Sometimes the old-school ones are more prominent than others, but the songs are always delivered with a contemporary feel, despite this.
All of the songs share similar characteristics, although the songwriting is strong enough that each song has its own feel and personality. Tracks like Palin Genesis remind me of Mandylion-era The Gathering, (which is a huge compliment in itself), whereas tracks like Small Hearted & Blind venture more into Paradise Lost territory. Nightshade Winds carries more of a My Dying Bride feel. Where Lies Our Heart is different from everything else – a layered vocal-only piece that works well, although I confess it is my least favourite track here.
The songs are heavy, slow, and moody. They’re well-written and caked in visceral atmosphere that almost feels thick enough to touch. Despite the band’s atmospheric approach and their obvious love of all things glacial and crushingly heavy, the music is surprisingly catchy and is filled with hooks.
The powerful vocals of the band’s singer are very effective, and an obvious focal point. Her voice is at times haunting, atmospheric, eerie, terrifying, beautiful, ethereal, commanding, and many other things. She’s a natural frontwoman, and her performance on Looking for Transcendence is memorable.
I enjoyed this album a great deal. Looking for Transcendence is a recommended listen for fans of heavy, atmospheric doom metal.