Saattue – Kärsimysnäytelmä

I think there is absolutely a place for melodic doom metal albums with choruses and everything, and I really like the touch of them singing entirely in their native language (finnish), but this just isn’t the album for me personally. I like more experimental/creative endeavors, and I’m not a fan of sappier doom unless it’s My Dying Bride. I can’t really say much about this other than I think a lot of people would like this, but it doesn’t speak to me personally. Not my kind of music basically.


6.75/10

https://saattue.bandcamp.com/album/k-rsimysn-ytelm

Inverloch – Distance | Collapse

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.


7/10

Goatpsalm – Downstream

This is THE album to prove that Rateyourmusic ratings are complete bullshit. This has some of the most unique atmosphere I’ve heard in an album this year. How often do you hear siberian mouth harps with funeral doom metal, combined with nature recordings and tribal drums? And it’s not just unique, it’s done well. It feels like an ode to the mystical natural world, and it feels that way in a completely organic manner. Sure there are some moments where the synths are a bit misplaced, or the vocals sound a bit too bizzare, but otherwise this is a spectacular work whose premise I have never experienced before, and boy am I glad I gave this a chance. There’s no joke here, just fucking listen to this you dweeb.


8.5/10

Irkallian Oracle – Apollyon

What the fuck was that inhale at the beginning of Elemental Crucifixion? Like I get it, it’s supposed to be all raspy and murky and weak and shit, but like nigga you inhaled for 15 straight seconds. You aren’t a vacuum, humans don’t do that. That was massively cringe but this is pretty alright. Most caverncore sounds really similar to me, and it’s getting a bit old, but that’s what happens with trends I guess. Shit’s good, but nothing you haven’t heard before.


7/10

Mourning Beloveth – Rust & Bone ALBUM REVIEW

Funny story, the only album I had previously listened to of this band was their debut, which, not knowing anything about death doom metal, I thought was boring and snooze worthy, being way too slow and samey. Fast forward a few years and funeral doom is my favorite metal genre. Funny how things change.

Anyway, Rust&Bone is a nice album, but I really feel like Mourning is trying way too damn hard to make the listener feel sad. Certain elements are really nice, like the doomy acoustic bits, and the fantastically beautiful choir that backdrops the music on occasion. However I really feel like this is too tonal and obvious for me to really enjoy fully. I kinda have this thing where if death doom / funeral doom has too much tone and melody to it, I tend to lose interest. I’m the kinda guy who loves shit like Mordor, and Esoteric’s early work, melody doesn’t really affect me as much. Personal taste aside, I do feel like Rust rides along the line of a bit too much cheese pretty tightly, crossing over into the danger zone a few times too many.

There’s also the aspect of time. The album clocks in at 37 minutes, and with only 3 of the 5 tracks having meaningful length (the others being interludes), it feels like as soon as the album arrives, it disappears, without really leaving a trace of its presence, or any impact on the listener. I feel like one more track would’ve made much more of an impression on me, which is weird to say, as I normally prefer albums to be on the short side.

Negative criticism aside, this is a very decent work. I feel like Rust & Bone is at its best when it steps away from traditional death doom, and goes the more melancholy, acoustic rout with clean vocals. The interludes are absolutely fantastic, and I loved the intro to the album, but I feel like the meat and potatoes of the album just tires too hard for my liking. That being said, I can see why many other persons would love this, so I still fully recommend this album to anyone looking for some high quality sad thoughts time.


7/10

Lycus – Chasms ALBUM REVIEW

It’s already January -1st and I already have an album I was hyped about! Lycus’ 2013 debut was an extremely solid funeral doom record with massive soundscapes that gave off an aura of depression, somberness, and I would even say oddly enough, hope at times. It didn’t feel nearly as bleak as other funeral doom records do. However now the gloves are off, and Lycus starts right off with a guitar shriek, before going into a dirge of filth and doom.

While I would put Tempest on the lighter side of funeral doom, Chasms feels like its title indicates, that it’s the sound that lurks in the chasms of the underworld. However, while it is refreshing to hear a different sound, I don’t think that’s what Lycus does best. Their best work is when they throwback to their last record, ironically on the title track of the album. What really gets me about this track is the harmonies and chords they use, specifically starting at around the 8 minute mark.

They go through a slew of jazzy chords, including the repeated use of the C7b5 (if it’s not C, it’s still certainly a 7b5). You don’t often hear jazz chords in funeral doom, so I never quite realized how refreshing and delightful it is. It’s sort of like putting together whiskey and ice cream. Hard hitting, but with some sweetness to it, though I imagine getting drunk off whiskey and ice cream would be a lot more pleasant than getting drunk while listening to funeral doom. While I wasn’t feeling the violins to close and end the piece (they felt more like decoration than anything else), the track itself was a lush, beautiful, and heartbreaking doom ballad that’s easily the best track on the album.

However then the band does something even different from that, going into an infrequent blast beat frenzy on Mirage, with the track sounding more chaotic and less pleasing to hear than what they previously offered. It’s certainly an interesting direction, but it’s not the direction I think the band should go. As I said before, Lycus is at their best when the listener feels sorrowful, yet strangely inspired, not when the listener to scrambling to figure out what the heck they’re listening to. The fourth track feels like a mere afterthought, meant to be an epic finale, but feels drawn out and bland compared to the rest of the tracks on the album.

Overall this is another solid record from the US based doom band, a slight improvement at that. However there are times where I simply get bored, and as much as I can praise this, there’s never a moment where I feel like this album is any more than an 8 at max.


7.5/10

Ahab – The Boats of the Glen Carrig ALBUM REVIEW

Full disclosure, Ahab is my favorite band. I even went so far as to get an Ahab shirt for Christmas, one which I’ll gladly show off for years to come. I’ve been saving this review for the end of the year, as I feel like it would be a nice closure to 2015. However I found that I really just don’t have a whole lot to say about this record.

It follows the familiar Ahab sound, with crushing doomy riffs (albeit at a slightly more brisk pace this time), coupled with beautiful calming clean vocals, and acoustic passages. On previous Ahab records I felt that they were exploring the notion of wandering at sea, with the waves crashing against your vessel, creating a struggle of man vs water. On The Boats of the Glen Carrig, I feel like Ahab has finally dove into the water, as the cover indicates, giving off a more atmospheric and lighter approach, rather than being sloth like in their riffs, which makes me feel like I’m exploring the vast, colorful landscape of the ocean floor that’s filled with life, rather than the bleak, desolate surface. Ahab has almost totally abandoned the funeral doom aspect of their music, making this much more a post-death doom record than anything else.

It goes without saying that this is a fantastic record, though that’s more due to the fact that I’m not sure if Ahab can produce something that’s not amazing. But, hold on a sec guys. Nalpam Records. The second in command of the Legion of Shitty Entry-Level Records (also know as L.O.S.E.R) right behind Nuclear Blast. So of course they gotta make this more accessible to the avant-teen. In this case, while the tracks are fantastic, they follow an extremely predictable pattern of acoustic intro, buildup, crushing doom section, outro. Every single track does this without fail. There’s none of the subtle variety of the previous Ahab albums. While the sound is great, it overall feels sterile and catered towards mass appeal.

So yes, I feel like this is Ahab’s worst output yet. That isn’t really saying much however, as Boats is still a marvelous record that even when tainted by big industry, manages to stand out above the rest of the Napalmed metal jungle as one of the best doom albums of the year.


8.75/10

My Dying Bride – Feel the Misery ALBUM REVIEW

My original experience with My Dying Bride was not a good one. I felt like they overdid it on the gothic aspect, creating something cheesy rather than dark and beautiful. In their latest record, Bride rejects their roots somewhat and goes with a much more straightforward, and down to earth sound that baths you in a sea of despair, engulfing you in unrelenting melancholy and sadness. The sound is quite clean, but it never feels plastic, as I’d describe it more as modern and forward thinking. Listening to the album, you wouldn’t think it would be made at any time other than the present, however the mood transcends dates and years. The lyrics are a bit on the obvious side, but in my mind that’s part of the charm. Fell the Misery is upfront about what it’s about and how it wants you to feel, and what’s amazing is that Bride managed to do this without alienating the listener. I feel like when an album is too upfront about its intentions it leaves all the mystery out of it. I like to make my own interpretations of music and how I want to feel about it, I don’t need the band to tell me what to feel. However hear I don’t think it matters. The intent of the music on this album is to have its content accessible, universally understood, yet lovable all the same, which is succeeded in scores. I feel like just about anyone could listen to this, no matter what their background, and instantly understand, yet nothing here feels dumbed down, rather to put it simply, this is all around good shit.

I feel like the death vocals are completely unnecessary and ruin the mood a bit however. I know that’s a part of My Dying Bride’s sound, but I’ve never been married to that aspect of the band. It’s not that vocals of intense pain can’t coincide with soft depressive music, but I don’t think the death vocals are utilized enough to be a constant force, and utilized just a bit too much to be a special treat. I feel like if Bride had been on the latter side, it would’ve made more of an impact on me, while still keeping part of their traditional sound.

Gothic metal is a hard act for me to be pleased by, but My Dying Bride, against my previous notions of what they were, managed to do just that. Feel the Misery really makes you quite literally FEEL the misery, pronouncing itself as one of the better doom metal albums this year, if at the cost of the listeners hearts sinking into their stomach a few dozen times.


8.25/10

Paradise – Lost The Plague Within ALBUM REVIEW

This album has been something I’ve wanted to review for a long time, so I was pretty hyped when I finally got off my ass so I could uh… sit back down and listen to it. First thing I noticed was how immensely powerful the main riff of the opening track is. Probably the first riff I’ve heard this year that’s actually going to be stuck in my head for a while. This is the strong point of The Plague Within. It has a few select riffs in this album that have so much power and umf, along with being catchy, that you can’t get enough of them and they become earworms. Good earworms mind you. Victim of the Past, No Hope in Sight, and Return to the Sun (although not quite on the level as the other two) all have this kind of riff in them. The problem however, is that there’s a lot of time inbetween those riffs. And nothing in this album is really bad by any means, it just feels like it lacks the power of it’s riffs. While only those three tracks have main riffs of immense power, the other riffs in this album are by no means bad at all. But even though Paradise Lost fills up space with orchestral instruments, solid vocal work, and even blast beats at times, all of which sound good, it only ever reaches exactly; good. There is no wow factor, nothing to sweep me off my feat, no eargasm. Just pretty dang solid music. It’s like you have mild, medium, and hot salsa, and this is right under medium. It has just enough spice to be interesting, but not quite enough spice to make you satisfied. A major part of that is the store-bought chord progressions all throughout Plague, which to be fair is expected out of anything labeled “gothic”. To be clear, I certainly liked this, but I just don’t feel comfortable giving this the “recommended” label to an album I wouldn’t actually recommend to most people. The Plague Within is solid, but lacks the firepower to contend with the elite.


6.75/10