Domovoyd – Domovoyd ALBUM REVIEW

This had all the makings of an album I would love. Stoner Doom is my favorite genre. It had psychedelic influences that I love. The album had both progression and atmosphere to it. And also that is some sick cover art. And I really hate to give it a score like this, because concept wise it doesn’t deserve it. But sometimes it’s not really the big things that make an album not top tier, it’s just a bunch of somewhat little things that add up. That’s what happens in this album and it makes up one of the biggest “almost but not quite”s of this year.

First off I want to say that the intro track is absolutely amazing. Quite honestly had this been just the first track and it had been an ep, I would probably give this a 9. The start of it builds up tension perfectly with the violin and cello drones, along with the psychedelic wah-wahs of the guitar. Really what makes a lot of this so amazing is infact the trippy, psychedelic atmosphere of the track. It gives a pseudo 70s feel to it, albeit heavier overall. And just when it’s about to release that tension, it cock-blocks you and coolsdown. Another great part about this track is it’s ability to cooldown from the heat of the buildup so perfectly. Which then leads to a miniclimax, which continues the nature of the buildup but with the introduction of heavy, sludgy guitar tones. The problem comes when the vocals come in. Probably the single biggest flaw with this album is how unfitting the vocals are. I wouldn’t call them bad, as along they’re just plain mediocre, nothing special. But they never seem to fit in with the music no matter what style they do them in. At the first climax they seem just too nasally for the heavy tone of the track. After that there’s another cooldown, but this time with an increase in tempo that adds a nice change of pace. I also want to take this time to comment on how awesome the bass is on this album when it actually has a bit of focus to it. Really riff focused instead of just keeping counterpoint or letting you know what key the track is in, which is always a plus. I love bass when it’s done well, and have always been found of when bass gets either a solo, or isn’t just left to never be heard with the rest of the music. I really do think that’s one of the strengths of stoner doom, the ability to bring out the bass and give it a chance to shine. The final climax on the intro track comes close to the end, and keeping with the overall excellence of the entire song, delivers most of what you could hope for. I really wish the drums weren’t as loud however, they seem to drown out some of the rest of it, which is really unnecessary when you should be focusing on literally anything else. The vocals, once again, are also not up to part, as the far away sounding roughish vocals, while theoretically fitting in, don’t really seem right in context. Still though, it’s an amazing first track, and sets up high expectations for the rest of the album

Which isn’t really delivered. The entire first half of the second track is, to put it simply, lame. Nothing particularly goes on except for generic heaviness, and not really the bonecrushing kind, but the “yeah I guess that’s kinda heavy” kind. I will note that the solo on the latter end of the second track is fucking amazing. It plays along a harmonic minor, which is pretty standard for stoner doom, but with the extra added epicness you typically don’t see from this kind of music.

Third track is a spoken word ambient track that would normally fit perfectly in the middle of the album, and ambiance wise, it does. Except that once again, the vocals come to drag things down. Though really, this isn’t a vocal thing as much as just a talking thing. When you’re hearing someone ramble on about mystic shit to the tone of some psychedelic, otherworldly ambient music, you don’t want that voice to just sound like a completely normal Swedish dude. You want it to match what you’re talking about, you want it to sound mystic, wise, and from another world. Anything else just takes away from the immersion, which happens here. It’s a shame because it’s set up so well, that something so small really just drags down the track so much.

The next two tracks continue to bring down my initially high rating, because essentially, they’re filler. They don’t progress the album like the other tracks do, and nothing of note happens in them. They probably could’ve been cut out from the album entirely and nothing would’ve changed. Actually no, something would’ve changed, the album would be better. The 59 minute runtime feels more and more unnecessary as the album goes on, and it ends up being one of it’s major faults. But I had hope. The last track was actually longer than the amazing first track, and I expected it to really save the album and bring it up to an 8 so that I could put this on the Obscure Metal 2015 chart I’m making.

Only to be really disappointed. It starts off well, very similar to the first track, if more calm and less tension building. There’s the return of the violin and cello, which I really wish they would’ve used more of in this album, as it’s a really unique feature that adds something totally different than what other stoner doom bands have done, not to mention sounding awesome. But then it just sits there for about 7 minutes. I kept waiting for the tension to be resolved, only to be met with more nothing. And I understand prolonging the resolution so that when you do hear it it’s much more satisfying, but there comes a point where it no longer is building tension, it’s just boring the listener. Even when it does finally come it just isn’t as satisfying as the first track’s is. I can’t really explain why, but something about it doesn’t resonate with me as much. I think maybe part of why that is is because it just withdraws all the psychedelic influences that were used throughout the album. Though really looking back on it, the only really psychedelic tracks were the first and 3rd track, which seems strange when the bands lets on that psychedelic influences are supposed to be a major part of this. I mean, how can you look at the cover, listen to the first track, and not think you’re on an acid trip? And once again, the vocals just aren’t up to par. Just about everything about this track is complete disappointment and empty buildup, which is such a shame because I was really counting on that to be able to give this album a really high score.

Domovoyd would’ve been improved so much by just being instrumental aside from the spoken word. The vocals do nothing but this album, as do the sections where it goes way too much on the heavy and not enough of the psychedelic. I honestly think the reason this isn’t in the 6 realm is just how strong the first track is, along with how much potential I see in this band. This very easily could’ve been a really fantastic album, but again there are just too many things that are a bit off, and a confusion of identity and tendencies to be too sludgy for me to consider this one of the top albums of the year.


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