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