Doom metal reigned supreme at Greenwich Village’s Le Poisson Rouge on a Wednesday night. Headlining Swedish doom legends Candlemass sold out the show with support from Primitive Man, Mortiferum, and others.
It has been thirty years since drummer / vocalist Jonas Renske and Anders “Blackheim” Nyström began a musical journey that would see them evolve from a studio-only project exploring their darker musical tastes to becoming one of the most respected purveyors of melancholic and post-Gothic music; always evolving with each album, embracing Gothic and progressive metal, and always distinctively Katatonia.
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.’
For the most part, Thronehammer’s second full-length is poised to offer the same colossal Battle Doom as 2019’s Usurper Of The Oaken Throne. Incantation Rites (Supreme Chaos Records) features a similarly expansive runtime at seventy-five minutes long with the individual songs putting in the same mix of drawn-out lengths and monolithic tempos. This continuation would raise concerns of recessing into stagnancy, but the band hones their focus while picking up a couple of new tricks along the way.
So, this album is called A Somber Preclusion of Being (Independent), huh? Cool, I’ll give this Vacant Eyes band a try. They’re from Massachusetts too? Great, I like supporting artists from my neck of the woods. What’s the worst that can happen? About seventy-five minutes have gone by and I think I may need a nap. The brain can only take so much.Continue reading
As hinted by the title, Doom II (Self-Released) isn’t Witnesses’ second overall album but rather their second to expand on the Doom Metal style that was established on 2019’s To Disappear And To Be Nothing. Its predecessor’s combination of glacial riffing, distraught vocals and bleak mood is well-preserved here and the overarching narrative of a ship lost at sea allows them to be conveyed even more powerfully than before. Convoluted naming conventions aside, it’s a bold leap forward by every metric.
It’s been just a little over a year since Purification unleashed their first album, Destruction Of The Wicked, but their second already comes with some interesting developments. The style on Perfect Doctrine (ODLC PRODUCTIONS, INC.) may be rooted in the same post-Reverend Bizarre Doom Metal, but the Portlandians’ dynamic has dramatically shifted. The recruitment of drummer Count Darragh has led to them growing from a duo to a more conventional trio, allowing Lord Donangato Resurrected to focus on lead guitar alongside William Marshall Purify’s established rhythms and warbling vocals.
There’s no denying Destroyer of Light‘s prolific sense of adventure. The Austin, Texas quartet’s first release was a live set and in the eight years since, the band has let loose three albums, three EPs and a split with Tucson Doom monsters Godhunter. The latest of those EPs, Generational Warfare (Heavy Friends Records), is more of a ‘double-A side’: a two-song blast of mournful energy.Continue reading
As a proud Lancastrian all my life, it pains me to acknowledge the occasional superiority of bitter neighbours Yorkshire. One such area of supremacy is within the realm of Doom Metal: Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride have wielded the White Rose over some of the genre’s most memorable, emotional moments of the last thirty years and the latter’s erstwhile guitarist Hamish Glencross is determined to carry on that sound with his latest outfit Godthrymm. Debut album Reflections (Profound Lore Records) oozes the drama, power, and tragedy of his former band.Continue reading
Pitched under the banner of Celtic Metal, Darkest Era’s second full length, Severance (Cruz del Sur), shares more with the Dark Forest’s and Slough Feg’s of this world than it does with a Cruachan or Waylander. With elements of Atlantean Kodex and Trouble prevalent, it is an album borne more of the traditional metal vein than any of the blackened folk ilk that usually fall under that description. That’s not to say there aren’t traces of black metal in their sound, but this tree is rooted in classic metal.
While vocalist Krum (anyone for Quidditch?) rightly takes plaudits for his strong, powerful clean vocals, it is the excellent dual guitars of Ade Mulgrew and Sarah Weighell that keep the ante well and truly “up” throughout with some crushing gallops. In between they flit seamlessly between clean passages and Di’anno-era Iron Maiden harmony riffs and trade-offs, before scooting back into well-crafted and heavy classic metal riffs.
‘Sorrow’s Boundless Realm’ leads the way, an acoustic build up into a blackened riff, before the anthemic ‘Songs of Gods And Men’ stirs and rouses, calling to mind more recent Primordial (they can be forgiven for stealing the middle section and solo from Thin Lizzy classic ‘Emerald’). ‘Beyond The Grey Veil’ is a slower, more considered piece, leading to a doomier outro that calls to mind New Dark Age Solstice.
Come the second half of the album, the gauntlets are off and Darkest Era tear their way home. ‘Trapped In The Hourglass’ nods to Grand Magus before we move via the fist-pumping ‘The Scavenger’ and ‘A Thousand Screaming Souls’ to round things off expertly with the heroic ‘Blood, Sand And Stone’, an epic that spirals off via a dual-guitar build into a soaring lead, with Krum trumping his previous excellent work, fully opening his diaphragm to earnestly guide the ship home.
Mixing NWOBHM and epic doom, Darkest Era’s sophomore effort is an album of stirring and impressive classic metal, and is a call to arms that deserves to be answered.
8 / 10