In contrast to the darker doom path that Grief Collector established with 2019’s From Dissension To Avowal, their first proper full-length shows more direct connections to singer Robert Lowe’s past projects. ‘Corridors’ opens En Delirium (Petrichor Records) in a similar fashion that ‘Falling’ started off Solitude Aeturnus’s Through The Darkest Hour, featuring a catchy Grunge groove and lofty vocal lines. There are even some Classic Metal touches comparable to the most recent Tyrant album on ‘Our Poisonous Ways’ and ‘The Letting Go.’
These callbacks may shape the album’s perception, but the musicians’ established dynamic also allows for progress since the previous EP. Guitarist/bassist Matt Johnson’s playing feels fuller on both fronts, the allowance for more uplifting passages allows the guitars to put in the occasional flash with the bass often standing on near equal footing. Drummer Brad Miller also gets to show off some aggressive rhythms. The vocal delivery is multifaceted above it all, mixing mournful wails with ominous snarls. The highs may not be as impactful, but they are still packed with Lowe’s signature character.
The songwriting also benefits from the EP to LP transition as more songs allow for broadened horizons and even distinctions between the album’s front and back halves. The album’s more upbeat, old school minded tracks are predictably placed toward the front of the album with ‘Corridors’ and ‘Our Poisonous Ways’ standing out as particular highlights. On the flip side, the album takes a much doomier turn as the sinister touch of ‘When Sanity Eludes Me’ kicks in. I must admit that these songs can get rather nebulous at times, but ‘Scorned Heart’ makes for a solid closing track.
Overall, Grief Collector puts in some strong development with En Delirium. With From Dissension To Avowal providing Traditional Doom Metal with an almost sludgy touch, putting more emphasis on those old school elements should feel regressive but the resulting melodicism gives the songs more standout moments than before. I still find myself wishing the writing was a little more memorable but it’s ultimately an enjoyable, cohesive effort. Along with the new Wheel album, doom fans that still feel the void of Solitude Aeturnus’s absence should check this out.
Buy the album here: https://griefcollectorpetrichor.bandcamp.com/album/en-delirium
7 / 10