If you’re one of the people who always believed that Vortex was terribly underused in DIMMU BORGIR, then LAMENTED SOULS is exactly what you’re looking for.
Comprised of material from different sessions throughout the 90’s, “The Origins of Misery” shows a pair of Norwegian Black Metal musicians, Simen Hestnaes, as well as Ole Jørgen Moe (DØDHEIMSGARD, AURA NOIR) in a much different context; a Doom Metal/Stoner Rock band. Listening to the disc in it’s entirety demonstrates how the band has undergone significant changes over the years, as the transition from a Stoner Rock band, to a Doom/Stoner band, to finally a Doom Metal band becomes evident. Perhaps its just my prejudice against most Stoner Rock, but I find that the Doom Metal material to be much stronger, especially the fantastic opening track “Essence Of Wounds” which has an eerily haunting melancholic vibe from the first note. Simen’s vocals are also at the peak on this track, exhibiting his great style and range. The remaining tracks from the same session follow suit and make for a great listen.
After that, the album takes a slow decline, as the earlier material just doesn’t live up to the newer. Not to say that the material is weak, as the tracks all warrant a listen, but it’s better to take the first seven tracks as the album and the rest just as a few bonus demo tracks. Nothing you’d expect to blow you away, but still cool to have tacked on the end of a great CD.
Given the background of the musicians involved, the end result is really quite surprising, as this could have been a real disaster. In the future, however, I hope that they manage to release another album using “Essence Of Wounds” as a springboard into something darker. (Online September 6, 2004)