Hailing from London, Age of Taurus threw out an independent demo entitled In the Days Of The Taurean Empire back in 2010 and have now signed to that haven of all things doomy, namely Lee Dorrian’s Rise Above label. So they’re signed to a premier doom label, their name is a bit astrological sounding and the artwork for this debut album looks like something that Candlemass would have used twenty-odd years ago – can you guess what they sound like?
But let’s not do them a disservice by assuming anything. Age of Taurus may not be the most original Black Sabbath-worshipping band on the block but they are a damn good one, as evidenced on opening track ‘A Rush Of Power’. A hulking doom riff introduces a melancholy mood before a tempo change and we’re heading off into heavy metal heaven as the start-stop of the main verse and singer/guitarist Toby Wright’s majestic clean vocals combine to make an irresistible headbanger of a song; you’ve heard it before dozens of times but a winning formula never gets old, and when it’s played out as energetically as this it never fails to get the dandruff flying and the horns raised.
However, the energy levels aren’t quite so palpable over the next couple of songs, as ‘Stinking City’ and ‘Always in the Eye’ don’t match up to that stellar opener. The slower ‘Walk With Me, My Queen’ injects a little more atmosphere before the thundering hard rock of the title track pummels its way into your ears like Entombed covering Cathedral’s faster moments and provides some more of that certain something that makes good doom into great doom.
Desperate Souls Of Tortured Times is a loud, heavy and inconsistent album. Veering from generic doomy plodders to all-out bangers, the album will no doubt find favour with those who see Rise Above’s roster of bands as a shopping list and it would be fair to say that its highs outweigh its lows and make it an album worth checking out if all of the traditional doom benchmarks are your thing.