Saturday, November 19, 2011

Abyssmal Sorrow - Lament : Album Review

Slowly, but evidently, I'm finding myself less tolerant towards mediocre music or bands, including Old School Death Metal ones. I simply cannot stand how each and every band playing that genre, no matter how average it sounds, gets utter praise by people with tastes similar to mine.
Fortunately, throw any damn Doom Metal at me, and I'll love it as long as it stays away from "fucking cheesy" territory. Personal opinions apart, the band that is the subject of the review is an Australian Funeral Doom/Black metal band, Abyssmal Sorrow. With just one EP and one album, Abyssmal Sorrow aren't very well known outside of Funeral Doom fan base.

On looking at the band photos, the album cover and lyrics/themes, prior to giving this album a spin, it's prone to a lot of incorrect judgment. The first opinions range from "must be cliched Depressive Black Metal" to "Another cheesy Gothic Doom?", but that's where the band lands in with a pleasant surprise. You might be a bit correct with the former, since Lament definitely has rather sad melodies and a very "Black Metal" sound to it, but that is where the similarity ends. The band tilts a lot towards the realm of Funeral Doom. What sets it apart, even yet, from its own genre, is the thin sound. It is not thick, heavy or crushing, but still follows the Funeral Doom norm of painfully slow riffing and heavy reliance on the atmosphere, provided by the synths, with near-perfection. The riffing is slow, very slow, and depressive in nature, but limits itself before breaking the barrier and sounding "emo". (PS: Emo, here, is not used as a term describing the post-hardcore movement, but used to describe the usual derogatory term for cheesy emotional melodrama). The riffing compliments the guitar tone perfectly, as a heavier sound would not have reflected the pure misery held in the combination of notes played. The synths are used in a very good way; Almost playing along the lines of the guitar riffs, but never too overpowering to drown the guitars themselves. They perfectly add to the atmosphere, in addition to the occasional use of acoustic guitar passages, which are used rather brilliantly. Listen to the intro on Austere Lament Part 1, which displays the best of such passages. The vocals are throaty howls, resonating with the rest of the music. they sound haunting enough to send a chill down your spine, and reflect the . They sound more like a part of the background, which is a good thing, since such a style has a potential to distract the listener from the rest of the music. The bass guitar is the sole instrument providing any heaviness the songs in here have, and play almost along the lines of the guitar, and as usual, is an important instrument here. Despite the thin sound, Abyssmal Sorrow's music is rooted in Funeral Doom Metal, owing to the atmospheric nature and the vast, desolate landscapes, visions of which the music creates.

All in all, a very good piece of Atmospheric Funeral Doom/Black metal recommended for fans of the genre and also for fans of Depressive Black Metal (due to the resemblance in sound). Of course, the album is far from perfect, but very good nonetheless.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Coffinworm - When All Became None: Album Review

Long time, no review. Time to end the dry spell, and Coffinworm is a good enough band to do so. Formed in 2007, these bunch of guys play Blackened Sludge. Sludge, being a genre that works well in combination with most metal genres, seems to work the best with Black Metal, since the atmospheric and hateful quality of both is added up. After a raw and rough EP titled "Great Bringer of Night", Coffinworm released their full length album in 2010

Not unlike their preceding work, When All Became None is a pretty dirty, misanthropic pile of dark, blackened Sludge. Coffinworm utilize slower, crushing sections very well, as they literally pound and pummel the eardrums, like you would expect from any Sludge. In addition to that, there are rather groovy, sometimes Crusty mid-paced sections scattered across the songs, which adds variety and keeps it interesting. What makes this band stand out, is the highly atmospheric feeling to the music, yet, it is very unlike Post-Metal/Atmospheric Sludge. The guitar effects invoke a rather Black Metal-like, dark and dismal atmosphere. There is no trace of Stoner tendencies in the music, and there are absolutely no bluesy passages and riffs, but the general atmosphere is spacey and psychedelic at times. The dissection of the quality of riffing isn't necessary here, since this is Sludge, and to be a half-credible Sludge band, you need riffs, so this band obviously assaults the listener with a barrage of crushing riffs, varying between Doom, Black and Crust styles. The guitar tone fits their style of music very well. It is sometimes reminiscent of Graves At Sea, sometimes reminds of Evoken. The general goal of creating a dark, macabre atmosphere with crushing riffs is achieved through it. The vocals are Black Metal 'growls', and sound powerful. There is only a little variety in them, and the vocalist sometimes switches to low growls temporarily. There is a sense of rage in them, but a slight feeling of evilness and grimness would have really helped. This is just a minor drawback here, since the vocals are not playing the biggest role here. The drums are luckily neither too high, nor too low, and are mixed really well. The cymbals don't hurt, the snare sounds perfect and crushing, and the bass is loud. The bass guitar is not distinctly audible unless paid attention to, but since the Lows are turned up in the mix, it doesn't seem too much of a drawback.

Song memorability is low on the first few listens, since there isn't much that helps differentiate between songs. Every song is similar, and there are almost no defining moments, except the intro to Spitting In Infinity's Asshole. This is the biggest drawback of this record, and it will take a few listens to actually dig in. that means bad news for people without enough patience, who will likely discard this, labeling it as monotonous. Disregarding the poor memorability factor on the first few listens, this album is really good, and Coffinworm effectively combine Black Metal, Crust and Sludge. Recommended.