Banality on stilts is perhaps a harsh way to sum up an album, but this is, after all, a harsh review. And there is no surer way to describe Adore (Season Of Mist), the latest album by Canadian avowed mourn-mongers Numenorean.
All the elements are there, of course. It sounds suitably maudlin, and the music seems to downright ACHE for a chance to emote and be glum. Dwelling, as it does, on the Gothed out end of the Doom spectrum, the album is full of haunting guitar twangs, interspersed with frantic (but still distraught) beats and riffs. All the elements are here for a good ol’ fashioned Goth metal album, of the kind that means something, even if that something is a bloody awful time on a wet Tuesday afternoon, where the cat has died, and you’ve got syphilis.
But alas not, because the album is an ongoing exercise in missed opportunity after missed opportunity.
There are parts of the album which chug away with some genuine forlorn energy. Parts which radiate sadness and a grandiose misery. But none of it has any real depth, any true substance. It sounds like a pastiche of a band that actually breathes real passion and despair into their work. Sometimes it sounds a lot like a really heavy emo band. Other times, it’s like Katatonia with all its teeth pulled out, and the good bits sanded down into tedium.
By way of contrast, I played My Dying Bride’s 1998 underrated gem 34.788% (Peaceville), which reminded me of Adore, but only if 34.788% had all the good bits and the genuine spikey menace and heartbreak sucked out of it. In that sense, of course, Adore shows what happens if Goth metal lacks balls, teeth, and sincerity – It results in a sort of soggy pastiche where there is a vague intimation of something genuinely affecting, but nothing is really done with it.
Let’s be devil’s advocate at this point. It is clear that Numenorean are competent musicians. It is also clear that the intent is there to make mournful, heavy music. But it lacks that vital spark needed to draw it together and have an effect on the listener. Instead, it sounds like a series of missed opportunities, time and again, throughout the entire album, not helped by the second half of the record descending into tedious acoustic sections.
In summary, it’s not arse but it is consistently bland.
6 / 10