Dead Void, Volatile Forms (Dark Descent 2022)

Danish doom band Dead Void bring their debut album to the surface, Volatile Forms.

Dead Void is a band of mystery. There is virtually nothing about the personnel in the press materials. The band appears to be a trio – guitar, bass, drums – who started off at some indeterminate time in the past. The Metal Archives does list three demos from them having been released in 2017, 2018, and 2021, respectively. And now we have the new one, a full-length album that is probably the band’s long-player debut. Let’s give it a blind listen.

There are five thunderous tracks on the new album. “Atrophy” takes off with a slow, ominous strum, matched in time by bass and percussion. It is a dark, heavy doom that turns into funeral doom, deepened by treacherous vocals. The song is a warning of an eventual, slow-moving catastrophe. The strum does pick up and the music turns fast and fierce, almost avant-garde at times. Then it winds down and fades out. Contrariwise, “The Entrails of Chaos” starts like a hail of missiles with savage intensity. The doom comes in later, and a kind of groove walks in and out.

“Sadistic Mind” plays like slowed-down Black Sabbath. Absolutely crushing. Death metal tags in toward the middle then bows out. Similarly, “The Reptilian Drive” has a familiar overall arc, but no guiderails at all. Again, the groove in the middle is killer, and it offers a look you almost never get in this manner of music. The final track is “Perpetually Circling the Void.” How’s that for a title? Oh, this eleven-minute opus delivers on its titular promise, have no fear.

This album is excellent. I am a doom fan, and so I appreciate how well those elements are executed in the music. The additional layers of death and groove are what raises the compositions to the next level. Recommended.

Volatile Forms hits the streets through Dark Descent Records on September 15th in CD form, with vinyl provided by Me Saco Un Ojo.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://deadvoid.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/TheDeadVoid/

Dark Descent Records, https://www.darkdescentrecords.com/shop/product/dead-void-volatile-forms-cd/

Me Saco Un Ojo Records, https://www.mesacounojo.com/shop/dead-void-volatile-forms-lp/

© Wayne Edwards

Dead Void, Volatile Forms (Dark Descent 2022)

Morbid Evils, Supernaturals (Transcending Obscurity 2022)

Morbid Evils unleash a quadrangle of doom on their third long-player, Supernaturals.

Doom trio Morbid Evils began in Finland in 2014, and released their first full-length album the very next year, In Hate with the Burning World. Next there was a split and a live album, record number two hit the streets in 2017, Deceases. After this massive flurry of recorded activity, the studio went quiet for a lustrum. The silence is now broken with what might be the band’s most accomplished work to date, Supernaturals. The musicians are Keijo Niinimaa (vocals, guitars, bass), Jarno Virkki (drums), and Tuomas Varila (guitar).

There are four huge tracks on the new album, averaging about ten minutes each. First up: “Fearless.” The song begins with loud, low drones, distortion, and funeral doom riffs. The vocals are titanic howls, and a guitar line follows along with them for added emphasis. Three minutes in, the pace snaps to a heavy groove and the vocals clarify slightly. A dangerous heaviness continues to abide. These movements trade off to the finish. With “Anxious,” there is a similar set-up, but it is not as dreary. Still brutally heavy, the beast has lifted its head and now sways it like a pained metronome. The slowest moments are deeply haunting; the lead work, revelatory.

“Tormented” opens side two. At less than nine minutes, it is the shortest song in the set, and it has a notably different vitality compared to the ones that have come before. More aggressively hopeless, the lead guitar line breaks into chaos alongside the vocals at midway, then the song resets for the long slope toward the finish. The final song is “Supernatural,” and it is oppressively bleak. With a segment of good death metal chops followed by dark tonal passages and a resolution in devolved hopelessness, this track is the one where the deal is sealed. Supernaturals is an exceptional doom album that will live in my queue for the foreseeable future. Recommended.

Supernaturals is out on August 19th through Transcending Obscurity Records. Look to Bandcamp or the label’s website for the usual wide variety of versions and merch – Transcending Obscurity really is one of the absolute best record labels for collectors in terms of the extensive variety of products they offer.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://morbidevilsband.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/MorbidEvils

Transcending Obscurity Records, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Morbid Evils, Supernaturals (Transcending Obscurity 2022)

Mournful Congregation, The Exuviae Of Gods – Part I (20 Buck Spin 2022)

On the cusp of thirty years in, Mournful Congregation begin their two-part EP series with The Exuviae Of Gods – Part I.

Australian doom band Mournful Congregation is a pillar of the funeral doom mausoleum. From the very beginning with the Weeping demo in 1994, they have set their own boundaries. A second demo appeared the very next year then, a few years on, Tears From A Grieving Heart, their first full-length album. Since then, there has been a steady, well-paced flow of much-needed doom. The band is peopled by Damon Good (vocals and guitar), Justin Hartwig (guitar), Ben Newsome (bass), Ben Petch (guitar), and Tim Call (drums).

Exuviae Of Gods will be released in two parts, the second appearing later this year. Part I contains three long tracks starting with “Mountainous Shadows, Cast Through Time.” An organ fades in playing sinister tones leading in short order to a confrontation with a massive wall of guitar riffs. The vocals that ensue have a sound of distance in them, gruff and croaking. Slow and deliberate. The guitar solo enters in its own time and, when it does, it is genuinely enthralling.

“The Exuviae Of Gods” is a deeply moving instrumental piece soaked in sorrow. At merely seven minutes long, it is sandwiched between two behemoths. The vocalizations in “An Epic Dream Of Desire” are spoken word, offering unmuddled direction in the narrative. Halfway through, a lead guitar embarks on a deeply emotive dirge of mystical wonder. Beyond is the eventuality of existence and nonexistence. The space that Mournful Congregation inhabits in the land of funeral doom music is most compelling. Recommended.

The Exuviae Of Gods – Part I is out on Friday, May 27th through 20 Buck Spin digitally and on CD, with vinyl to follow a bit later on. Osmose Productions is handling the album outside of North America.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://mournfulcongregation.bandcamp.com/album/the-exuviae-of-gods-part-i

Website, https://www.mournfulcongregation.com

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/mournfulcongregation

20 Buck Spin, https://www.20buckspin.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Mournful Congregation, The Exuviae Of Gods – Part I (20 Buck Spin 2022)

Qaalm, Resilience & Despair (Hypaethral Records 2022)

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.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://listen.hypaethralrecords.com/album/resilience-despair

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/qaalmband

Hypaethral Records, https://hypaethralrecords.com/

Trepanation Recordings, https://trepanationrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/resilience-despair

© Wayne Edwards.

Qaalm, Resilience & Despair (Hypaethral Records 2022)

Mordom, Cry of The Dying World (Transylvanian Recordings 2021)

Doom duo Mordom play for the hopeless and the dead on their new album Cry of The Dying World.

Max Hoffman and Nathan Gonzalez got together a couple years ago to lay down music outside of the band Cessation, calling the project Mordom. They released their first album in 2020, Eternal Solitude – it contains two long tracks, each with multiple movements. The new album has a similar set-up with three long pieces and a surprising fourth.

I was expecting to hear funeral doom given the work of Cessation, and the opening track, “Narcosis,” fulfills that promise at the gate. Slow, somber, heavy music that is quiet at first. The big riff and grating vocals drop to shake the world but the pace does not quicken. About four minutes in there is an explosion, a sort of seizure where the instruments and vocals erupt in a massive thrashing. Then back to the funeral. There are more explosions, an ambient section, and an even creepier element right at the end. Solid crushing doom with landmines and flashbacks.

“Betrayed” is a little more on the traditional funeral doom side in that it begins with the louder heavy. The pace quickens and there is a beautiful acoustic movement in the middle that leads to a melancholy guitar before bringing back the heavy. “Fire” is the shortest song on the album at only five and a half minutes. It is also a ballad with clean, gentle vocals and acoustic guitar. I did not see that one coming. It is an interesting choice and it fits right in with rest of the music in the set.

The final track is “The Mausoleum.” This epic composition runs nearly eighteen minutes and I could have listened longer. The combination of unusual percussion (for funeral doom), acoustic passages, ambient moments, and shrieking black metal interludes all housed in the firmament of the heaviest doom metal speaks to my musical predilections. This is a great album and I am looking forward to more from Mordom. Recommended.

Cry of The Dying World is out now through Transylvanian Recording. Touch the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://transylvaniantapes.bandcamp.com/album/mordom-cry-of-the-dying-world

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/TransylvanianRecordings

Mordom, Cry of The Dying World (Transylvanian Recordings 2021)

Worm, Foreverglade (20 Buck Spin 2021)

Florida gloom band Worm continues further down the path of deep dark doom on their third album, Foreverglade.

Formed around 2014, Worm’s early music was more oriented toward a straight-forward black metal tint. As they moved along, the doom emerged and quickly intensified into a lead-heavy oppression. Evocation of the Black Marsh came out in 2017, followed two years later by Gloomlord. The driving force behind Worm is an entity known as Phantom Slaughter whose work is enhanced on the new album by Nihilistic Manifesto, L. Dusk, and Equimanthorn. I wonder if those are their real names.

Foreverglade opens with the title track, sure in its stance and determined in its eeriness. It is a creeping combination of funereal guitar riffs, muffled death metal vocals, and ethereal, almost ritualistic sounds. On “Murk Above The Dark Moor” the composition has moments that are choir-like in their dirge and reverence, positioned against passages slightly paced up and massive in their density. And then, unexpectedly, there is a lead guitar break that is transportive. Side one closes with “Cloaked In Nightwinds,” the longest track on the album. It is a churning, clompy excavation of darkness.

“Empire Of The Necromancers” has an active beginning volley that is positively rapid compared to the tracks that came before. Excellent lead work early on in the song is a memorable highlight, as are the lyrical keys. “Subaqueous Funeral” is a single-length dark beauty with a pulse and flow that is engaging and mesmerizing in the guitar. “Centuries Of Ooze” brings the curtain down on the set, returning to the solemnness of the opening but even more mysteriously. I am a funeral doom fan and this music could fit in that category for its sheer heaviness, but it is more active than the typical strain and so creates its own description and enigma. Recommended.

Foreverglade is available on Friday, October 22nd through 20 Buck Spin. Ordering information can be found below at the label’s website and Bandcamp for the digital, CD, and cassette versions. There is a vinyl edition that is due January 28th, coming out later because of the well-known worldwide vinyl backlog.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://wormgloom.bandcamp.com

20 Buck Spin, http://www.20buckspin.com

Worm, Foreverglade (20 Buck Spin 2021)

The Slow Death, Siege (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Australian atmospheric doom band The Slow Death return with their mournful fourth album, Siege.

The first album from The Slow Death was their self-titled entry in 2008, followed four years later by the aptly titled II. 2015 brought the charmed album Ark, and now Siege. They write and perform thoughtful, deliberate doom, typically in long form. The band is Mandy Andresen (vocals, keys), Stuart Prickett (guitar, keys), Yonn McLaughlin (drums), Dan Garcia (bass), and Gamaliel (vocals).

I would refer to this music as Funeral Doom, although many would find the Atmospheric Doom label more accurate, or perhaps simply more palatable. Given the subjects of the songs, the pace, and the haunting constructions, I am standing by my FD assessment.

There are four tracks on this album, two that are about twenty minutes long with the other two a bit more than half that. The first song is one of the long ones, “Tyranny.” The opening notes have a feeling of transition to them, like something has been happening for a while but we are just now becoming fully aware of it. The music is beautiful and melancholy. The first heavy guitar drop is fairly early in, about a minute and a half, and it raises the seriousness of the established emotion. There is a tempo change and then the first voice is heard, a lovely, comforting vocal and, later, a gruff one, both of which return. The narrative is fairly linear and the music moves with the story toward the solemn conclusion.

“Famine” follows, a shorter work running only about thirteen minutes. Given the title, you are not going in with hopes for a sunny afternoon. Indeed, the story is grim even as the music is compelling an uplifting – at first. The heavy, trouncing guitars and rhythm press in suddenly, conveying catastrophe and doom. Toward the end the inevitability, the fate, becomes clear, and the song ends dramatically.

“Pestilence” is Funeral Doom at the beginning the way I usually think of it: slow, dead slow; utterly hopeless. This track is the other long piece, and certainly it goes through a range of expressions and movements. The beginning passage is the one that stayed with me longest. The final song is “Ascent of the Flames” and it hit me as a sort of cool down – an opportunity to reflect on what has come before and a memorial wrap-up.

I am a fan of Funeral Doom and this sort of music has long appealed to me. As a result, I am always on the lookout for another band I can rely on to set the kind of tone I want to hear. The Slow Death has become one of my regulars and this new album is among their best. Recommended.

Siege is out from Transcending Obscurity Records on Friday, August 27th. Investigate all the possible variations in presentation at the links below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://theslowdeathband.bandcamp.com/album/siege-atmospheric-death-doom-metal

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/theslowdeath

Transcending Obscurity, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

The Slow Death, Siege (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Towards Atlantis Lights, When The Ashes Devoured The Sun (Melancholic Realm Productions 2021)

The musicians in Towards Atlantis Lights are Ivan Zara (guitar), Kostas Panagiotou (vocals, keys), Riccardo Veronese (bass), and Ivano Olivieri (drums). Their music is often described as funeral doom, and they label it this way: Arcane Doom Metal. The band’s first album, Dust of Aeons, was released in 2018 by Transcending Obscurity. This follow-up album is both a continuation and expansion of the ideas and sound from their inaugural record, this new one being more active and aggressive.

There are six tracks on the album including a fairly short intro piece, “Alpha & Omega,” that wanders the listener in. The narrative themes concern civilizations in the distant past, and that is an excellent framework for the music of the band. “The Minoan Tragedy” is the first full song, and it is a fifteen-minute heavy doom rumination with mostly clean vocals punctuated by coarse growls and rapid guitar cataracts, most memorable near the end.

“The Forgotten Tribes” is even eerie and heavier – it is my personal favorite for the way the vocals and guitars work together. “The Bull and the Serpent” starts off at a high-tempo sprint while “Mad Prophetess” soaks you with heaviness up front before lashing out in sudden bursts. “Pelasgian Tales” features ethereal guitars and voiceover to tell the tale.

If you liked the first album, this one will appeal to you as well. It is full-throated doom that surrounds you completely and takes you away. Recommended.

When the Ashes Devoured the Sun has a street date of Friday, July 16th. You can pick up the digital or CD through Bandcamp.

Links,

Bandcamp, https://pantheistuk.bandcamp.com/album/when-the-ashes-devoured-the-sun

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/TowardsAtl

Towards Atlantis Lights, When The Ashes Devoured The Sun (Melancholic Realm Productions 2021)

Funeral Chasm, Omniversal Existence (Aesthetic Death 2021)

The first full-length album from Danish Funeral Doom duo Funeral Chasm is a rueful contemplation.

Funeral Chasm is Morten Lund and Danny Woe. The two have known each other for many years but this new band was created only last year. Omniversal Existence follows an EP from 2020, I, and lays the groundwork for future self-reflective excavations. Unlike most bands in this subgenre of doom, Funeral Chasm finds its lyrical content in contemporary questions and personal issues rather than having a preponderant emphasis on death.

There are eight tracks on the debut album, averaging in the six minute range. Each song is inspired by, or discovered through, Psilocybe cubensis, or a closely related cousin. Danny Woe describes it this way, discussing the way he deals with the symptoms of chronic insomnia…

“When those emotions are peaking, I have learned that the most effective way to break that thought loop is to visit my forest cabin with a friend and eat some magic mushrooms, which help me from spiralling further down into the abyss. I have tried to describe these monumental trips in every song, and what I’ve learned through them. Sometimes you just get a nice relaxing visit into another dimension, but other times you can experience deeper knowledge about yourself (often referred to as a ‘bad trip’ or ‘ego-death’), and that is the moment where you listen and get the opportunity to evolve.”

This makes sense when you listen to the album because it is so immersive. Consider the first song “Embellishment Of Inception.” There is a clear progression through a journey – a trip – which has many stages. The slow, dire music accompanied by both clean and coarse vocals can be experienced as revelatory. There are spacey moments and frightening ones. “The Truth That Nevers Was” is like a dark, forbidding tale of excruciating suffering that is elevated toward the end, rising out of complete hopelessness. Then the very next track, “Mesmerising Clarity,” has a lighter touch while still being dramatic. There is nuance and fully-formed, complex ideas at every turn.

In the land of Funeral Doom, Funeral Chasm has created a unique place that clearly belongs while it simultaneously stands apart. Recommended.

Omniversal Existence is out on Friday, July 2nd through Aesthetic Death.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://funeralchasm.bandcamp.com/album/omniversal-existence

Facebook, https://m.facebook.com/pages/category/Musician/Funeral-Chasm-103662204549338/

Aesthetic Death, https://www.aestheticdeath.com/

Funeral Chasm, Omniversal Existence (Aesthetic Death 2021)

Suffer Yourself, Rip Tide (Aesthetic Death 2021)

Intricate Funeral Doom laced with Death Metal is what you can expect from the new Suffer Yourself album, Rip Tide.

Suffer Yourself began in Poland as a one-man operation by Stanislav Govorukha (guitars and vocals). Over the years the roster has expanded and the new album includes contributions by Lars Abrahamsson (guitars), Kateryna Osmuk (drums), and Johan Selleskog (bass). Rip Tide is the third set from the band, following Ectoplasm (2016) and Inner Sanctum (2014).

The music is Funeral Doom, a category most glum. Suffer Yourself takes an expansive perspective on the genre and is not satisfied with ambient morosity. Instead, each song either has many movements that create a variegated aural landscape or has a second (and third) persistent intricacy that elevates the composition.

There are three tracks on Ripe Tide, starting with “Spit In The Chasm,” a twenty minute suite. It is here you find the full spectrum of the band on display, including soaking Funeral Doom, eerily floating vocals and calls, sudden burst of speed and diversions into torrid Death and Black Metal territory. It is a complex affair that unfolds like a darkly absorbing drama laid bare before you.

Next is “Désir de trépas maritime (Au bord de la mer je veux mourir)” which is quiet and somber  and features a beautiful, mournful cello in its first movement. Before the three minute mark, the music changes from sad to threatening with guitars issuing an obvious warning. In the final third of the song, there has an oddly upsetting spoken word passage joined by the cello and other discordant instruments and effects.

The closer is a short ambient drone piece, “Submerging,” which is more of an exhortation regarding things to come than it is a wind-down. Taken together these three pieces coalesce into an unforgettable cortège moving toward oblivion. Recommended.

Rip Tide will be released on Friday, June 25th by Aesthetic Death on CD, vinyl, and digital. In the US, Bandcamp is a good place to pick it up.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://sufferyourself.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/SufferYourself

Aesthetic Death, https://www.aestheticdeath.com/

Aesthetic Death Bandcamp, https://aestheticdeath.bandcamp.com/

Suffer Yourself, Rip Tide (Aesthetic Death 2021)