While it may be doable to create a good album all by yourself, I´ve always come out disappointed when done listening to releases from this drawer, mostly because of the basement sounding quality. Don´t get me wrong, I find the concept of one guy writing songs, playing multiple instruments, handling the mixing, engineering, mastering etc etc, to be exciting but I´ve yet to hear something good from such “bands” or projects. Along comes TEARS OF MANKIND with its Russian brand of Gothic Doom Metal almost giving me my first positive experience with a one-man band.
I feel that Skobelin Philipp bears several heavy burdens in his heart as he´s been composing and releasing several demos each year since forming the band in late 2002. “Silent Veil Of My Doom” is the Russian´s third full lenght release, and offers a despairing and introspective journey through the mind of a moody human being exploring the depths of sorrow and solitude.
The music is firmly planted in Doom/Gothic Metal with perhaps a few Death Metal bursts in between. Although the music isn´t anything revolutionary, this guy has done his homework, because he´s got the sound down; the stomping killjoy rhythms of vintage MY DYING BRIDE and ANATHEMA, the incredibly atmospheric lead melodies as made famous by PARADISE LOST, and the traditional Death Metal influences. On a more peculiar note, the guy also draws inspiration from Akira Yamaoka, a Japanese musician responsible for many soundtracks to various video games, which is why there´s a remixed track from the popular “Silent Hill” game (other works of Mr. Yamaoka´s are also found in older demos).
There are different ways to approach these genres and thankfully the songs have various identities; the first track “And There In Eternity We Shall Merge” shows a classic English Doom Metal style, the title track toys with more experimental songwriting, “Without You (To Solitude... Pt.2)” is pure gothic balladry with female vocals, poetic lyricism and grand pianos, and finally it just wouldn´t be doomy enough without a couple of ten minute epics to drain the listener. On the downside, we´re facing the usual growls which are quite ok but nothing special, mournful clean singing that´s below average and a sound which definitely has the aforemention basement quality, but isn´t half as dreadful as I had expected it to be... what else... oh, need I mention that I loathe the programmed drums?
“Silent Veil Of My Doom” doesn´t really stand out in a crowd, but as a one-man studio project it´s solid enough but pretty harmless at the same time... mediocre, that´s the word.
(Online October 22, 2008)