Los Angeles doom band Qaalm present their debut full-length album, Resilience & Despair.
Qaalm was formed in 2017 and gelled over the ensuing years. The new album brings together two songs released as singles in the past couple of years along with new music not published before. The musical style is along the line of funeral doom, with expansions and explorations that combine to form a more animated whole. The band is Pete Majors (vocals), Henry Derek Elis (guitar), Brock Elmore (guitar), David Huet (bass), and Dave Ferrara (drums); cello performance by Kakophonix.
There are four long tracks on the album. Each demonstrates incredible depth and spatial awareness, and each is very different. “Reflections Doubt” constructs a beautiful, melancholy soundscape. The croaking vocals at three and a half minutes are a shock, and they take on a distinct life as Pete Majors continues to evolve his vocalizations throughout the song. Melodic singing combines and extends the narrative ideas, and the guitars and rhythm grow larger and become fiercer. Ebb and flow follows, casting you adrift and periodically rippling your serenity.
“Existence Asunder” begins on the wind. A distant menace makes itself known through the cavernous environment. The darkness is dense and beautiful in the classically formed funeral doom passages. In “Cosmic Descent,” the initial tones land more hopefully, while clearly breathing melancholy. The guitars are an active force, and belief in a possible positive outcome fades as the misty cloak thickens toward the inevitable end.
“Lurking Death” is the final composition on the album. Clear vocalizations stand first, signaling demise. The path is replete with sadness and splendor, recollections and horrors. The dark beauty of the music on this album is overwhelming at times, and fans of funeral doom and melodic doom will feel at home here. Recommended.
Resilience & Despair is out on Friday, April 15th through Hypaethral Records digitally and on vinyl. Trepanation Recordings will have CD and cassette editions.
Hypaethral Records, https://hypaethralrecords.com/
Trepanation Recordings, https://trepanationrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/resilience-despair
© Wayne Edwards.