Death/Doom is a strange proposition for me. While I enjoy lots of epic, slow Funeral Doom bands, the extra hatred and the refusal to be melodic typically turns me off this genre. It's still pretty powerful here and there, but it's rare that I'll listen to more then a few tracks at a time, especially when it's in the middle of summer and all warm and nice as it is now.
But, whilst I'd probably rather be listening to something cheery right now, there's no denying that this is some overwhelming stuff here. If I had to dig out some comparisons I'd say that it's not too far from an angrier WORSHIP, the same sort of really downtuned, really distorted guitar tone, and when the clean parts come in there's some queasy sort of seasickness in the flanged/phased guitars that float around through the mix like dead bodies down the river styx. Or something like that anyway.
Yep, this is rather excellent stuff. The fact that I listened to the 13 minute epic "Suffer A Martyr's Death" and was actually surprised that it ended so soon is surely a compliment, whilst "Of Purest Absolution" starts off sounding like a really, really hateful ELECTRIC WIZARD track, and then comes down to a crushing, grinding final two minutes as a riff is repeated over and over again, getting slower and all the more heavier as it goes. The steady, slower then slower drumming in that song is pure class, and it's great throughout the rest of the album, with some perfect placed double kick fills hanging around in the mix. Meanwhile, "Astray In Eternal Night" is probably the eeriest, most depressing song I've ever heard, with some clean melodies at the start that will haunt your dreams. The use of clean parts are done impeccably, and only serve to make the album more opaque and disturbing, as strange, alien non-melodies ooze out of the speakers. I guess the closest description would be MESHUGGAH's perplexing, inhuman clean parts, as it's not too far from that.
When executed right, Death/Doom is one of the most intense genres around, and this is no exception. There's no comfort in the warm arms of melody, here, and nothing could be described as 'relaxing', despite the really slow tempo. For those who love their doom cathartic, hateful and profoundly inaccessible, this is the release for you. MY DYING BRIDE fans should avoid this like the plague.
(Online February 14, 2008)