As you can expect from the title, this article is about doom metal. In fact this is a triple review of 3 different doom metal records, each one from a different continent and each one delivering his own style of slow-paced music. Let’s start off this journey through slowness with the strangest act out of these 3, and the less known one as well.
Eeartshine – Doomed to Wander And Never Die (Australia, 2015)
A little premise is needed: I must be honest and tell you that I didn’t understand whether this record has this DIY production by choice or not. If this is the case, well, I don’t agree so much, but first things first.
Earthshine arrive from Australia bringing with them this rough blend of doom metal and post-rock, with some psychedelic hints as well. If you want a comparison, it would be Burzum meets Mournful Congregation meets Audrey Fall. The first one for the extreme roughness of the guitars and the melancholy of the compositions. Mournful Congregation show up when the slowness begins. Like tons and tons of rocks are crushing you down and you can barely move. Also the utterly profound growls remind me of the fellow-citizens doomers. While Audrey Fall reminiscences appear as soon as the music becomes gentle and airy, with that far post-rock feel lingering towards distant horizons.
Musically Earthshine have a lot of potential. Melodic passages blend together with great and fulfilling air. It’s a tremendous shame to me they went for such a low quality production (whether they actually did choose for it). Everything sounds so boomy and confused, not to mention the guitar tone which is like a buzzing bee (do you remember me talking about Burzum, don’t you?).
But again, this power duo from Down Under is nonetheless promising, and despite from my complains about production I did enjoy this record. I’d honestly suggest it to you if you’re looking for something…different.
Mesmur – S/T (International, 2014)
With the name Mesmur comes this International band with members extending to 3 different continents (again!?): America (USA), Europe (Norway) and Australia. Their music is solid and carries a straight forward Doom Metal formula with traces of Death Metal. Not many melodies dwell into this cocktail, while that void has been filled with monolithic riffs and mammoth growls.
In fact it is the growl the real load-bearing wall of Mesmur first opus, deep, powerful and full-bodied. I’d say simply flawless. And flaws aren’t welcomed anyway in this record. Everything is so precise, from the tempo to each single note played within the wall of guitars. Everything is so perfect that could grow boring from time to time. I know, this may sound strange but sometime few little “mistakes” could help and make a record lively. And this is the main complaint I make to Mesmur: to be too flat in their playing. I just feel the lack of “soul” in their compositions.
Besides that, Mesmur is an astonishing record being it the debut album of this International act. Everything sounds heavy and well-blended. Also because of the interesting synths & keyboards work, which play a huge and mesmerizing part all over the album.
You can’t miss this out if you like classic Funeral Doom a la Evoken or Pantheist. I’d also like you to suggest to watch out for Lapse and Descend, my favourite tracks. Enjoy!
Draconian – Sovran (Sweden, 2015)
Sovran is the 6th studio album from this mammoth act from Sweden. The first one with the new lady singer Heike Langhans. Well, let me say that I’ve been stunned by it. I haven’t enjoyed Draconian so much since Arcane Rain Fell. And yes, I am serious.
The album preludes with Heavy Lies The Crown, a good manifest for this record. Personally it’s also one of the tunes I’ve liked the most. And if this song was supposed to be the official introduction of the brand new singer, well it worked. But it won’t be easy to find a trip through Sovran. The album sounds solid, well-crafted and well produced…mmm, not! Honestly I don’t like this overly compressed sound, but you know, it’s today’s trend, isn’t it?
To find my favourite tracks we have to go towards the end of the record, where Draconian are used to give their best (and again I must mention Arcane Rain Fell). In fact The Marriage of Attaris and Rivers Between Us are the most touching and honest evidence of sorrow. And if we’re approaching an album by the “masters of gothic/doom” we must look for sorrow and grief then.
If you ask me to describe Sovran with one word, I’d say majestic. The only flaw I caught (beside production) is the lack of an unforgettable tune. But all the songs blend together so well that… screw that up for this time, and enjoy this great piece of music.