Sinister Downfall adds to the funeral doom procession with The Last Witness.
Sinister Downfall is peopled entirely by Eugen Kohl. I do not come across one-man funeral doom bands very often – more commonly, singular acts are instantiations of black metal. It is the music that matters though, no matter how it is created. So far, Kohl has released two previous long-players under the Sinister Downfall banner, Eremozoic (2018) and A Dark Shining Light (2020).
There are five tracks on the new album, the shortest of which is eight and a half minutes long. That’s a good start. Of course, it is not merely the length of the track that matters, but doom and particularly funeral doom work well in the long form. “Souls Enslaved” begins with a forlorn piano heralding the inevitable crush of massive doom guitar riffs followed on the queue by equally heavy vocals. The invoked dread is palpable and sustained. It is wonderfully dark music. “Into The Cold Ground” continues the expression, opening up the piano in a more active role. You wouldn’t say that the song is a surprise, but it is a willful engagement. Side one ends on “Eyes Forever Closed,” and there is an escalation of the sentiment that peaks in the vocals, followed by a long cooldown and a crescendo for the finale.
The second half of the set is two quarter-hour pieces, “Marble Slab” and “The Last Witness.” Both of these songs could be stand-alone releases, soaked as they are in dark, hopeless beauty. I favor the former, and I have listened to it several times by itself after the album ran its course. This set is going in my library, and I will hear it again and again. I did not know about Sinister Downfall before hearing this album, but the music is now forever in my book of doom. Recommended.
The Last Witness is out now through Funere on CD and digital. Enter the realm through the links below.
© Wayne Edwards