If anything, I’ve now found the record I will always lead people to the next time (read; the first time) someone asks me “hey I want to get into death doom / funeral doom, where should I start?”. Inverloch’s debut album takes their experience from diSEMBOWELMENT and uses it to create a much cleaner, listener friendly experience. In a way, this is a massive disappointment. Personally speaking, funeral doom and death doom are genres that, at least speaking for myself, their fans enjoy because of it’s oddball nature. I don’t have a massive amount of experience with death doom outside a few classics, but I do know from what I’ve listened to that it has a certain bit of oddness in often being guttural and monster like, but in a much more subtle and calm way that fans of traditional death metal might not always appreciate. Funeral doom, of which I have lots of experience, takes this even further. Aside from the obvious aspect of slowling doom metal to a crawl, you have bands like Thergothon, early Esoteric, early Funeral, Fungoid Stream, Sketicism’s Stormcrowfleet, fucking Mordor, and other artists who push the boundaries of what could be considered sane music, even by metal standards. Even Ahab’s Call of the Wretched Sea, which is considered to be THE starting point for an aspiring funeral doom fan, is a pretty weird album to someone who isn’t familiar with the genre. The almost whispered vocals and unapologetically low budget synths would be strange to anyone who didn’t really know what to expect out of funeral doom. In a way, I feel like in order to be a great funeral or death doom record, you need a bit of weirdness to give your record personality.
There is no weirdness to be found on Distance | Collapse. It seems like this record was tailor made to be funeral/death doom for people who had never heard either of those genres before. On all levels, this is a textbook example of every genre this album includes (funeral doom, death doom, death metal). Fuck, they even separate which genres they use at which times. Sometimes they’ll be death doom, then transition over to pure death metal, then transition over to pure funeral doom, etc. It’s like that one Benjamin Britten piece A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, where they separate all the instruments from each other to give the beginning as sampler of what each instrument sounds like. That’s basically what this album is, a sampler of all 3 genre’s involved. It’s even less than 40 minutes to boot, because you know, who has time to actually get into a genre, let alone 3?
Now I want to make this clear, what I’ve been saying is not necessarily a criticism of the album as much as it is a comment on how it works in my mind. Even as by the book death doom, this is about as good as you can get by only following the guide in the imaginary book of metal genres. It’s like cooking a recipe exactly by the book (god, why the fuck do I use food in my metaphors so much, I only eat like 2 meals a day, what the fuck?). It’s going to be fine doing it that way, but it’ll lack personal touch, and often that’s what separates a good meal from a fantastic meal. Distance | Collapse sounds like a very impersonal album, as if these death doom veterans were going through the motions, rather than trying to create a unique masterpiece such as Transcendence Into the Peripheral. It’s still a good piece of music that I absolutely enjoyed listening to, but it’s clear that some (maybe a lot) of creative spark is simply gone.