I first had the opportunity to hear this band through an mp3 called "Electric Arrows," which is on the follow up to this and I was greatly impressed. My interest peaked further when I received this demo from a friend shortly before I had the opportunity to witness these Doomsters in the live setting at the recent Day of Darkness festival in Ireland. It was there, in the live arena, that my true appreciation for this band began.
Delivering a very blended form of Funeral Doom, WRECK OF THE HESPERUS pound out slow and crushing riffs relentlessly and, seemingly without thought for the obvious discomfort of the potential listener, plod forward in an awesomely dirty, harsh and sludgy manner. The "blend" of which I spoke seems to encompass that ultra slow funeral doom inherent to SKEPTICISM, only lacking the "Gothic" keyboards and using a riff style and tone more common in 70's Doom legends PENTAGRAM, with much more Stoner Doom influences.
Vocally is where much of the harshness is added as the screams are so frighteningly insane. Moreover, the almost toneless growl adds a seemingly conflicting detached brutality that you feel overpowered by the wealth and sheer weight of these four dirges. Strangely, for doom metal at least, the percussion is one of the more important parts to the puzzle as WRECK OF THE HESPERUS have managed to find just the perfect balance between slow, pounding and trudging percussion and a more rich and balanced degree of fills that permit the drums to retain all their weight and impact of their tortoise pace, yet be interesting and important in their own right.
In the closing behemoth "Prolix" WRECK OF THE HESPERUS prove to be unafraid of experimentation. The use of Christian choral hymns set against their wall of sheer mass lends this track a sinister and macabre air that works so menacingly well despite how the actual conflicting melodies should null the effect of the other.
Download this for yourself, their website has nothing on it but high quality mp3s of this demo. No doom fan could be disappointed. "Terminal Dirge" is not a demo to be taken lightly and despite only being a first "demo" WRECK OF THE HESPERUS have already proven themselves to be masters of their craft. This is not something to be heard, but to be experienced. (Online October 6, 2005)