Having recently ‘discovered’ Helevorn at WGT 2011, we set out to find all their releases once we got back to the USA. Playing a mixture of Death/Doom Metal with some Gothic elements, Helevorn is one of the last remaining bands that keep the genre alive. With “Forthcoming Displeasures”, these Spaniards have cranked out 50+ minutes of crushing music that will surely impress any fan of the genre.
Since the opener “From Our Glorious Days”, the mood is set to dark and desolate place that only keeps getting more and more depressing over the tracks presented in this release. The mixture of bleak clean vocals with the crushing (and proper) growls makes the band a double threat and truly delivers in all emotional ranges. Opening with some atmospheric keyboards we have “Descent”. Keyboards provide a nice backdrop through this release and never get on the way of the crushing riffs, mournful vocals and mid-tempo structures that we all love from Death/Doom Metal bands.
In days where most American bands are trying to be as vanilla as they can in order to play what’s popular and/or achieve fame, it is quite enjoyable to get bands like The Living Fields and find that there are still lone warriors trying to combine different genres and produce very interesting (and fresh) sounding music.
Mixing a hefty dose of Death/Doom Metal with Pagan/Viking/Folk influences, “Running out of Daylight” is one of the richest and multi-leveled releases we have received in 2011 and made us take more than a fare dose of spins before we could actually write anything about it. With the opening “Remnant”, the band quickly delivers a powerful Doom foundation with classical string instruments in a way that bands like Ashes You Leave and Silent Stream of Godless Elegy do in their own respective areas. With crushing guitars and interesting tempo changes, the band dances around the lines of Doom brutality and melody seamlessly.
With Death/Doom Metal being almost a dying art, Graveyard Dirt delivers a gasp of fresh air to one of our favorite genres. In “For Grace of Damnation” the band crafts one of the most monumental releases of the genre we have heard in quite a while.
Drawing obvious inspirations from early Anathema and Paradise Lost, and combining them with newer influences of Mourning Beloveth, Shape of Despair, etc, the band shows great maturity in all eight tracks presented in this release. Painting landscapes of desolation and darkness, “For Grace or Damnation” is sure to attract all fans of the genre.
Featuring none other than Gary Griffith (ex-Morgion) on vocals, today we have Before the Rain and their killer sophomore album “Frail”. It’s a rare occasion that we actually take time to listen (let alone review) albums that somebody else recommends to us since we are very busy listening and reviewing everything we get from labels and PR companies, but “Frail” caught our attention since the first song and it’s too good of an album to not tell people about it.
Four years after their impressive “...One Day Less” debut release, the band comes back with a revamped lineup and a richer and broader sound. Taking full advantage of Gary’s vocals, the band’s sound shifts between traditional growls and clean ‘regular’ doom style vocals. The music is a lot better crafted and the hopelessness feeling given by the melodic passages is as good as it can get.
Lastly from the Frailty promo pack we got in the mail a few days ago we have “Silence is everything…” another EP released by this monumental Death/Doom band from Latvia. In the same vain as on their “EP” release from 2009, we get a glimpse of the band’s excellent songwriting skills and abilities to keep this genre alive and well.
Starting of with “Wendigo” we get a solid dose of fast paced Death/Doom Metal with passages that reminded us of Anathema in their earlier days (“Pentecost” and “Crestfallen” albums). But with a heavier edge than on the band’s first full-length release and with some harsh almost Black Metal-like screams here and there.
Featuring songs created before Frailty’s debut album “Lost Lifeless Lights”, this eloquently titled EP gives us 30 minutes more of Frailty’s magical Death/Doom Metal. And in case you are a hardcore Death/Doom collector, you better get the Latvian release since it’s only limited to 300 hand labeled copies.
In “EP”, the band shows a heavier and somewhat different side to what we heard in “Lost Lifeless Lights”, but this makes sense, since you can hear how the band’s songwriting abilities evolved to what became their first full-length album “Lost Lifeless Lights”. And since “EP” was recorded in 2009 it probably sounds way better than if they would have recorded it before they had a release under their belt.
After listening to their 2007 promo, Frailty caught our ears with their crushing Death/Doom Metal in a way that no band since the early 2000’s and late 90’s had done it. Hailing from Latvia, this band keeps the Death/Doom Metal flame alive and delivers 9 crushing tracks in their first full-length “Lost Lifeless Lights”.
Quickly after their Intro song, the band treats us to some crushing guitar riffs in the traditional vein of bands like Saturnus, Mourning Beloveth, Shape of Despair, etc. With the traditional tuning of Doom Metal music, the band’s riffing is very crushing in the sense that is simple, desolate and authoritative. The growls quickly make their presence and the traditional atmospheric passages soon follow. “I Know Your Pain” is the prefect song to create a depressing and monumental atmosphere to surround this release.
Originally a side project of Jonas Renkse and Fred Norrman from Katatonia, October Tide took by surprise the Death/Doom Metal world back in 1997 with their legendary album “Rain without End”. The band disbanded from around 2000 and finally returned in 2009 with only Fred Norman (not anymore with Katatonia) and Tobias Netzell (of In Mourning) on vocals.
“A Thin Shell” marks the band’s return to the Metal scene and it’s a great comeback album for all of us Death/Doom Metal fans. With seven songs and over 40 minutes of music, this release has all the ingredients to make it a classic of the genre and continue the legacy of October Tide.
While checking our ‘to review’ folder of digital promos sent by bands we happened to stumble upon this little gem that was hiding underneath the piles of albums we get every month. Daylight Misery is a band from Greece that plays a mean combination of Death/Doom Metal with some Gothic Metal influences.
Highly focused on the guitar work rather than the keyboards, the band creates a very depressive atmosphere (the part we love the most from the genre). When the keyboards are used, they are like the icing on top of an already delicious cake. This 3-song promo is probably one of the best we have received in quite a while and their upcoming release “Depressive Icons” sounds like it will be even better.
After a waiting period of 6 years between releases Fall of Empyrean is finally back, with their crushing Death/Doom Metal. “A Life Spent Dying” has been waiting to be released for a few years now, and finally Grau records picked it up for release. The band still plays Death/Doom Metal like in the old days and kills at it.
“A Life Spent Dying” is a pretty decent successor to “A Darkness Remembered”, the band features their characteristic sound crafted with “Anhedonia” with only a few tweaks to make it sound even better. Most of this album is very formulaic; take for example the song “The Air is Still” which showcases every Death/Doom Metal trick in the book. This approach does not reduce the quality of music created by Fall of Empyrean, and take anything from this great release.