The English quartet Eye Of Solitude moved from leaden death/doom, to funeral doom with the EP Dear Insanity.
Genre-wise, not a huge transition, but the shift in expression was very palpable.
From innovative structured metal, dominated by pitch black depressions without hint of hope, but with quite a few veritable explosive outlets for massive, smouldering, bottled up aggression, and on to extremely sluggish and tearful mourning, focusing on oppressive desolate moods.
Not a development I immediately applauded. Primarily due to how eminent the Brits were in their first phase, before they drowned in tear-jerking sadness. Nevertheless, even though I miss the more aggressive and dynamic ingenuity that Eye Of Solitude represented in about the first half of the discography, the same dejected Brits are, of course, more than capable of communicating heavily depressed tristesse.
Something they proved beyond all doubt on the album Cenotaph (2016), where moods of total hopelessness, weighing as much as a quarry, were put on the listener shoulders and minds.
With about ten minutes of duration on each of the five songs on Slaves To Solitude, the album lasts a bit over fifty minutes. Beautiful melodies flow slowly and shifting like tears along the textures of the skin of the face. Every means are utilized to implant, spread, exploit, and take full advantage of grief in all its facets. Unhappiness, self-pity, bottomless bereavement. All kinds of woe are explored, extracted, exploited, drained and bottled as an elixir of lamentation.
The concentrated essence of absolute comfortless agony, acts as a lubrication on the gears of the music box. A sense of despair and resignation spreads to the listener, draining him or her of their zest for life. If anyone can convey these sore feelings of broken hearts and emotional loss in a credible manners, it's Eye Of Solitude.
Despite all this, Slaves To Solitude doesn't speak to me to the same extent that Cenotaph did, although it's not far from it. It should also be said that the previous album was a veritable chamber of sadness, with even deeper guttural vocals.
Eye Of Solitude left a vacuum when they altered their style from a genuine and ingenious distinctive style to a more well-tried approach. The band, however, didn't lose its identity entirely. Slaves To Solitude is mournful and beautiful, but traditional funeral doom ain't nearly as memorable as the unique hybrid they left behind. For those who crave tearful melancholy, these 53 minutes are nevertheless a more than approved dose of misery, that with a heavy heart, profound wretchedness, gnawing concern and bottomless sorrow, is recommended to the target audience.
The band is back with more sonic violence. With an album of 39 minutes this time. The third in the row.
As mentioned last time, I unfortunately don't have an in-depth relationship with this entity's earlier works, so this quick presentation will be without much of a historical context.
The EP with the unimaginative title Lead Us To The Endless Fire/Sharpen The Knives, set my blood on fire. In full-length format, this effect isn't changed significantly. It just becomes more of the same, which is more than enough to make me happy. After all, the short duration was my only objection last time around.
For the uninitiated, we're talking high octane charred black/thrash with deadly riffs, full pressure impact and nitro injection directly into the nozzle, or something. Auto mechanics ain't my fucking speciality, damn it. In any case, it's getting hot in the smelting plant, although the pace ain't pedal to the metal all the way. Place a set of cluster bombs, a flame thrower, a gallon of sulphuric acid, a Siberian tiger, a rabies-infected bat and a great white shark in a container and you'll get... Nah, fuck it. This allegory just became nonsense.
After listening briefly to the two previous albums, Satan's Cross (2007) and ...from the Bloodline of Cain (2013), it seems obvious that Nocturnal Graves has calmed down several notches, and prioritized weight and mood over frothing and seething full throttle speed-attack. What the band has sacrificed of aggression, they seem to have no major difficulties replacing with increased atmosphere, substance and richer sound.
The heritage of Scandinavian black metal, with sonic roots to bands like Immortal and Marduk, is mixed with reckless aggressive old school blackened thrash and ditto experimental rhythms. In addition, juicy death metal riffing and sluggish, pounding, leaden malice with associated sultry moods, are included in this ever-flowing pot-pourri of furiously frenetic, but also odiously doomy malice, feeding on schadenfreude.
Nocturnal Graves writes killer riffs, and performs them with glowing immersion, presenting their material wrapped in an explosively juicy production. The result goes without saying. If your adrenaline level don't increase when Titan ploughs its way, you better check your pulse to make sure you're still alive. Rating: 5-
Sepulchral Voice Records, 18.05.18
Almost four years have passed since I last (and in Norwegian only) presented a release by Necros Christos. The Nine Graves EP appealed, although it didn't reach the heights of the masterful debut album Trivne Impvrity Rites (2007).
Domedon Doxomedon is the Germans' third and last album. Last, as in very last.
For reasons unknown to me, the eminent occult death metal band puts their rituals on the shelf.
Although the band has about a dozen other releases on their merit list, no more than three full-lengths have seen the candle light of night. The former, titled Doom of the Occult, was released in 2011.
Domedon Doxomedon is a work of near biblical proportions, in which Necros Christos blends in Hebrew symbols and biblical content, complete with reference to bible verses in the full version of the song titles. I haven't read the lyrics, and thus I dare not attempt at interpreting their intentions. I'm not going to give a profound description either. I'll instead just skim the surface, and leave the painstaking archaeological exploration of mythological mysticism to the listener.
In no less than 113 minutes, 27 tracks are presented. 9 of these, proper songs ranging from 6 to 14 minutes. The remaining 18 tracks are equally distributed between 9 mystical sequences under the names “Temple I” to “Temple IX”, and 9 more soaring esoteric interludes whose title begins with “Gates of...”. The album structure consists of 9 “Trinities” following a Temple-Song-Gates pattern, divided into 3 chapters called ITH, SETH and TEI, which I can't seem to find any references to.
My fear that all these midtros should steal the attention of the actual songs, and impair the flow, were unfounded. The music glides hypnotic as a long-lasting parade of shamans, alchemists, mystics, voduist, and the likes, followed by zombies and other living dead. With long songs, the interludes actually create a fairly adequate distinction between the beastly, raw and sepulchral hymns. The space between them are filled with an otherworldly atmosphere. My initial thought about weeding out all the interludes, so as to be left with 85 minutes of pure metal, proved to be a redundant idea. The 28 more ceremonial minutes work excellent as naturally fitting seasoning.
Topping the superb first album in particular, is hardly possible. It stands as a menhir within occult burial-chamber metal. But determined to quit on top, Necros Christos does their best to border on former exploits, giving the listener plenty of bang for the buck. With ample detail and rich dynamics in both material and sound, Domedon Doxomedon becomes easy to recommend to existing fans. Especially since the songs doesn't just echo monotonously in liturgical diabolical contemplation, but also convey comfortable well-composed variation. And let's not forget the heretic vocals... Rating: 5