Suffer Yourself – Ectoplasm (Review)

Suffer YourselfSuffer Yourself are Ukrainian/Swedish and play atmospheric doom/death metal. This is their second album.

This is atmospheric doom/death with an emphasis on long, slow songs that are filled with morbid beauty and hopeless despair.

The pace is torturously slow, but we like it that way. The band take their time to carefully build atmosphere through relentless heavy distortion and lighter, more restrained passages; frequently combined together. Continue reading “Suffer Yourself – Ectoplasm (Review)”

Soothsayer – At This Great Depth (Review)

SoothsayerSoothsayer are a doom band from Ireland. This is their latest release.

Soothsayer play atmospheric doom/sludge that thrives on dense, dark emotion and otherworldly atmospheres.

This is slow-building music that wields atmosphere like a wrecking ball, crushing everything around it with the sheer weight of oppressive mood and feeling. Continue reading “Soothsayer – At This Great Depth (Review)”

Doomed – Wrath Monolith (Review)

DoomedDoomed is a solo project from Germany and this is his fourth album playing Doom/Death Metal.

Doomed’s third album Our Ruin Silhouettes was a good example of quality Doom/Death that ticked all of the right boxes for the genre. Curiously, this new release has a song on it called Our Ruin Silhouettes yet the actual album named this did not.

So how has Doomed progressed on this new release? Well, it’s still the familiar Doom/Death style that lovers of the sub-genre will be so familiar with, (how could it not be?), although on this latest album this seems a bit more riff-hungry in places, with a little more of the Death Metal side of the Doom/Death equation coming to the fore.

The Funeral Doom marches and depressive moods are still present and correct. Doom/Death is a very specific sub-genre, and once you move too far away from the core of this style you’re not playing it any more. The guy behind Doomed knows exactly what he’s doing though and these compositions milk the most from the emotional misery while at the same time allowing for sufficient variation in writing and pacing so that these 51 minutes don’t feel as agonisingly slow as the music can be.

Guest vocalists add further interest to the songs, and these compliment the main Deathgrowls which are as deep and as enjoyable as they previously were.

Due to the ramping up of the Death Metal influence, the guitars have a bit more energy to them in places and as it’s all wrapped up in a crushing production. The riffs seem to jump out of the speakers like eager puppies. Although admittedly, these are dark, misery-drenched puppies determined to drown you in woe.

Hmmm. Misery puppies?

What the Hell, let’s go with it.

Strong leads, melodies and solos abound. As one of the cornerstones of the style, the forlorn melodies are carried out really well. The songs do a laudable job of manifesting the negativity that sits at the core of the music.

The album showcases the Atmospheric side of the band in addition to the depressive. Synths and keyboards add extra layers to parts of the songs and there’s even a hint of a Progressive Metal slant on some parts of this release. If this is further developed even more on future releases then this would be a valuable addition to the Doomed sound, as it already seems to be becoming.

Wrath Monolith is a very impressive album that’s pretty much at the top of its game. I find Doom/Death to be a sub-genre that can easily become a little stale, so I’m pleased to report that this is not the case here. The music holds the attention easily and this is an album that has a lot to offer. As stated, there’s a surprising amount of variety and interest to be had here and it seems that Doomed’s songwriting is just getting better and better.

Very highly recommended.

Kвіти Знедолених Берегів – За небокрай мрій (Review)

Kвіти Знедолених БерегівKвіти Знедолених Берегів is a solo project from Ukraine that plays Atmospheric Death/Doom. This is his début demo.

This is woe-filled Atmospheric Doom with deep growling and swathes of desolate feeling.

The singer has a very powerful growl. It sounds quite primal in its force and carries a strong presence against the backdrop of the mournful music. This is backed up by occasional spoken word sections which are also performed well and have a good place in the mix, as I find spoken word parts are usually too high when most bands employ them. Soft, low-key cleans also unexpectedly appear, greatly enhancing the already varied vocal package. Neither the cleans or the spoken word sections are over done though and the deep growls eclipse them both.

The music shows good composition and everything is played well. The dark melodies have an air of longing to them and really drive the music forward.

Both of the songs on this release slowly build their funeral dirge over the course of about 10 minutes and the winding, plaintive guitars have just the right tone to connect viscerally with the listener without becoming overwrought. Subtle keyboard/piano is used here and there to further add feeling and I like the style of songwriting in general; it’s mainly about heaviness, both musically and emotionally, but there’s enough subtlety and nuance here to satisfy fans of all tastes and preferences.

For what is, apparently, a demo release, the production is very professional sounding. Everything is balanced and in its place; everything sounds crisp and punchy.

I’m very impressed with this. Hopefully we’ll see a full album from Kвіти Знедолених Берегів in the future and if it’s even half as good as За небокрай мрій it’ll be very good indeed.

Narrow House – Thanathonaut (Review)

Narrow HouseUkrainian band Narrow House play Progressive Doom and this is their second album.

This is varied and atmospheric Doom, with elements of their Funeral Doom past widened and expanded to included a much larger musical framework.

Playing heavy, dark and slow is still a feature for the band, however, but now they also use additional tools in their toolbox, including non-standard Doom implements such as choirs, saxophone, cello and contrabass, as well as orchestration, piano, keys, etc. that are more typical of the style.

A lot of the songs are more upbeat and have more of a Progressive feel to them. Some tracks such as The Midwife to Sorrows, for example, still have Doom aspects but can also be thought of as Progressive Metal songs with slow parts.

The songs are surprisingly short but still manage to pack a lot in. Narrow House are high on content and depth where they are lacking in length of song. The level of orchestration, effects and additional instrumentation on the tracks mean that each song is densely packed with layer upon layer of musical interest.

The clean vocals are dirge-like and full of depth and authority, whilst the occasional growls are low key but powerful.

This album is a surprise as I wasn’t sure what to expect from the band. From the Progressive Metal-style album cover to the name that gives nothing away, this is an atypical release in many respects. This is a very good thing, as the band have produced an extremely good album that manages to ably differentiate itself from the ravening hordes whilst keeping quality levels high and having a lot of personality and colour.

This will probably be a bit too left of centre for some Doom fans, which is a shame as this is a remarkable release that deserves a wider audience. This is a hugely impressive album that won’t settle for being average and definitely stands out in a sea of mediocrity.

Listen with an open mind and you’ll find that Narrow House have produced quite the corker.

Essential listening.

Luna – Ashes to Ashes (Review)

LunaHailing form the Ukraine, Luna play epic Symphonic Doom.

This is one single track, almost 57 minutes in length. It’s ambitious, epic and immense. If you’re a fan of bands like Monolithe you’ll love this.

The band boast a strong sound that they use to their every advantage as this weighty track unfolds.

Atmospheric Doom, Depressive auras, Funereal dirges, Egyptian-esque soundscapes, crushing riffs, symphonic stylings; this is a release with seemingly all bases covered.

This is splendid stuff, and so easy to get lost in. Rather than one long track it’s like listening to a full album of lengthy, (but numerous), songs and just sitting through the whole thing in one go.

Whether martial and marching or doomy and slow, the song works no matter what it does and ultimately the entire thing just sounds great. There are so many shades and textures on this album it’s simply stunning.

As you listen to it it’s easy to get swept along with the dark feelings the album evokes; it’s almost cinematic in scope and is thoroughly realised and executed. This is the aural equivalent of a massive Sci-fi scene that unfolds with grandeur and terrible awe.

There are no vocals, but they would probably just get in the way anyway. For a band like Luna the music is more than enough.

Haunting and special. A must listen.

Descend Into Despair – The Bearer Of All Storms (Review)

Descend Into DespairRomanian band Descend Into Despair have released an epic album in every sense of the word – there is 92 minutes of music here, all piled into 7 songs.

I love a good piece of album artwork, and this one is great. It’s not necessarily any reflection of the music of course, but it did make me excited to listen to this band.

The songs are long and based around slow, atmospheric funeral Doom; each track winding and rolling further down into misery. The singer espouses his existence of suffering and gloom through deep growls and haunted clean vocals.

The guitar-based melodies and riffs are slow and moving, but for me it’s the added keys and effects that are the real emotional drivers. They weave in and around the songs like ghostly dancers swaying to their own tune, adding depth and longevity to music already full of mood and feeling.

Feelings of fragile mortality and heartache infuse this album and every second is spent pulling at the heart-strings and introducing melancholy and sorrow.

This album can hold its head up high and rub shoulders with the best of them; with bands like Eye of Solitude and Descend Into Despair releasing high quality music like this the depressive funeral Doom scene will not want for leaders for some time.