Like the expansive and grand architecture of a cathedral, “Doom” spreads out in a vast scope and with its many elements seems also to encompass in both grandeur and awe. Yet, with all of this the third full length album by Swiss Doomers PYLON still lacks a little that is hard to really crystallize. Moving along primarily at a sluggish pace, though one that never quite dips to the Funeral Doom measure, the band churns out a style of Doom one can only describe as epic. Each track like the Nave, Font or Quires of the aforementioned building reaches out over considerable areas and at times includes elements that are unusual for this style of Metal. It works for the most part and creates an interesting, if challenging, listen.
The majestic soundscape is presented not just with big, swaying riffs and classical Doom solos and licks, but also through Matt Brand’s vocals; them seemingly offered through some sort of heavy reverb or echo most of the time. Normally this might bother me, but it works for the aesthetic PYLON are going for on this record. At a few moments in the album he reminds me of Parramore McCarthy of WARRIOR on their first releases. Early in the album, in fact on “Renovatio (Renewal & Relapse)” we get a taste of the varying facets the album has to offer, with use of pipes and horns, though sparingly or else I’d be doing my nut in. The backbone of the songs is as one would expect: slow, almost meandering but sweeping and chunky riffs backed up by a pounding rhythm section that creeps its way through the nooks and crannies of the Doom house of worship they are travelling through. A slight shift in tempo and riff structure occurs here and there throughout the album as in “Renovatio”, when a kind of groovy Doom burst spreads out and in “Ho Theos Erchestai” for a moment or so where we are taken on a slightly swifter journey with a chugging but simple riff.
Like incense that burns slowly but wafts through the entire complex, structures of devotion they are used (fuck me I guess I’m sticking with this cathedral metaphor!!), “Doom” reaches its encompassing tentacles outward toward all areas while almost paradoxically remaining in a narrow genre of traditional Doom, showing that the ingredients of the album are known but also create a seemingly vaster aural experience than is normal. The use of spoken word, passages of bass lines by themselves, and solitary sounding guitars do this well and produces a melancholy somewhere between BLACK SABBATH, St. VITUS and classic CANDLEMASS. “In Thy Shade”, after slinking through minutes of that archetypal Doom then goes off on a bit of a psychedelic turn, reminiscent of what Iommi would write in the early days of SABBATH. I don’t find this slow and ponderous style to be quite as engrossing as others may, in fact I think of it as times as good background music; it lacks a visceral quality that entices me to most music. At almost an hour and twenty minutes the album is simply too long. Yet, there is no denying the alluring and calm but darkened mood PYLON does well to create.
(Online May 2, 2009)