Illimitable Dolor - Leaden Light - (6.5/10)
Published on March 2, 2019
From the beautiful, eternally warm and sparkling Australia comes the atmospheric doom/death metal band Illimitable Dolor. It seems pretty strange to me that such a sun-bathed paradise could deliver music with so much… well… doom. That’s one of the main reasons why I wanted to try this band out but to be honest, they really did it. Their homeland is the last place you think about when hearing this band. The genre tag really couldn’t be more accurate.
With “Leaden Light”, it’s all about sadness, melancholy and apathy. It fits all the doom metal patterns and holds on to them really tight. What I think is this band’s biggest strength is definitely their talent at composing expressive melodies. Throughout the entire record, it’s the guitar and keyboard melodies that really convey the intended emotion. They’re pretty simple and repetitive, allowing the mournful and paced down feeling drain the energy around. Their overall sound is pretty soft and tired. Although they use all the metal elements, the album’s production doesn’t really allow it to build up any power, feeling quite dry and lifeless. They take their time with every theme and let it go on for quite a while before changing anything in the song which makes way for the typical 10+ minute doom metal song lengths. Despite the sluggish pace however, the drums move about quite a lot and fill in the gaps with pretty inspired details. You could even say there’s some groove in there and I like how that contrasts with the stiff pace of the guitar riffs that barely drag their weight through the lazy, numbing tempo along with the empty harshness of the vocals.
The “atmospheric” tag is also well deserved and I find the keyboards primarily responsible for that. There’s always a layer of strings covering all elements in a coat of softness and continuity that allows your mind to somehow drift through the songs partly unaware of what’s going on in there but completely immersed in the atmosphere. It’s very easy to listen to this passively and it certainly makes for a good rainy day background music. However, the keyboard also takes the lead every once in a while, switching to piano sound and playing some melodies. I also think they used a church organ sound in some moments but I’m not really sure of that. One thing that really surprised me is that there seemed to have been some subtle mid-song tempo changes. It’s not exactly something sudden or dynamic but with the music being so slow, pretty much everything that moves a little bit somehow stands out.
I’m guessing they achieved the atmosphere they were aiming for and that’s all good but what bugs me is that the album feels exactly the same all the way through. Now I know diversity isn’t exactly the point of doom metal but do you really need to say the exact same thing for over fifty minutes when the message becomes pretty clear by the time the first song is over? After a while it just doesn’t serve a purpose anymore. The closing track made a little difference though by relying less on overdrive and harsh vocals. This one almost took the metal out of the mix and left just doom. It feels even more empty but also more beautiful as the use of clean guitars and piano combined brings a little more emotion to the table. It has the same atmosphere as the rest of the album but it still came as a welcomed change. In the end I can’t say that I’m too impressed about this album and I’ve clearly heard more expressive and meaningful doom metal but they have their own sound and if you are more interested in this genre, I think you should give them a shot. There’s clearly something in there you can enjoy. But my advise is: don’t expect too much.