Into The Abyss: Paint of the Urban Mind Decay
Bring the oil lamp, we’re going to the Death/Doom territory with these two releases.
The Death/Doom genre is having a great year right now. Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride return from the underworld, and more new bands like Coffins, Exgenesis or Shape of Despair are pushing the style to different directions and artistic visions.
What value brings a genre that could be interpreted as monotonous or outdated?
Well… To me, the appeal of Death/Doom is the expressiveness and the richness of the textures in the multiple approaches. Even when the musical choices can be somewhat similar, Autopsy doesn’t sounds equal to old Anathema, or old Katatonia, for example.
Like the previous example, these two records I am going to share are crafting different vibes with similar structures. So, let’s check’em out!
Majestic Downfall – … Of the Dead
Formed by Mexican musicians, Majestic Downfall plays part in the more brooding side of the death/doom metal spectrum; in which they employ overwhelming tempos with nearly-depressive melodies. Their new record, titled … When Dead, is a manifesto of escapism to the realm of the dead and the disgust of modern society.
The album starts with an almost post-punk intro that can induce a heavy doze, preparing the atmosphere to the doom that will come in “Escape My Thought”, when the slow and crunchy metal side clashes with excellence the romantic guitar melodies.
Notes come and go with a choked guitar full of distortion between the spaces in “The Brick, The Concrete”, a song made with accentuated points that break in sudden moments with primitive valor. These two songs are the better example of what this band uses as a weapon: the simple songwriting is backed up by the sudden changes; they move you to the atmosphere they want with the dynamics and the breaks to engulf you later with an unexpected solo or a blast beat. And I must say that it works; Majestic Downfall does not want to impress you with flashy instrumentation, rather to punch your feelings in the cold streets.
The second half is comprised of “Doors”, a song with a more blackened feel that confronts itself with the straight-forward death elements. As the first part, the sections revolve quiet often asthe narrative drags you to the bottom of the well; the same happens with the closer, entitled “The Rain of the Dead”, that serves as a conclusion to this offering to the sorrow.
Vocals are mostly barking growls that compliment in a good way the harsh section, but I’m not sure how the growls and whispers fit with the clean guitar parts. The bass rumbles with monstrous distortion, while sounding clear in the mix and serving as a base for the guitars to complete the dark atmosphere. The last two songs follow this structure of having three or four rhythms or melodies in just one song.
The entire record is varied. It has good guitar solos, blast beats, some dissonant embellish twists in the verses, tremolo riffing and clean passages as bridges; with even some headbang worthy moments.
Overall, the compositions throw you to a hole in the dirt waiting for you to die, which is very cool because the Death/Doom funeral sentiment of the first wave of this genre is intact; but rather than going as a safe rehash of older glories, Majestic Downfall uses that grungy bass-powered 90s production style to create a decadent urban landscape painted with fingers. It is sloppy, fragile, but menacing, all in a good way.
Majestic Downfall’s …When Dead is out now, via Pulverised Records.
Indesinence – III
On a much slower side, Indesinence teach us a more raw approach to the genre with their last offering to the despair: III.
What stands here are the drums, the heavy growls and an angular riffing writing that provides a more abstract feel. Rather than being harbingers of death, Indesinence twist the feelings to unleash the nothingness.
Following the example of the first song, entitled “Nostalgia”, the songs are long with stretched notes that make them even longer; however, the songs are structured in a way that repetition does not pummel you with droning non-sense. Between the suffocating extreme doom moments coexists the evocative reverb of some guitars wailing from beyond, and the sudden explosion of an almost complete d-beat drumming.
Cavernous growls do accompany to the ringing chords constructed with some dissonance and effects that crush the atmosphere that surrounds you in an instant. The appeal of Indesinence’s music in this album is their ability to flow with ease, putting pressure and suck all the air with long and vibrating expansive melodies.
“Embryo Limbo” begins with a delicate arpeggiated guitar punished by the constant drums fills, and that will surrender to the oppressive doom tempo. In this album, the band could found the exact spaces to infect the spaces between the atmospheres with sudden drum implosions.
Along the chugging and the note per note melodies phrasing, the album have some surprises with the inclusion of some keys and ambient tracks in the fourth track (“Desert Trail”), even with some blast beats along. I think that this is the trend to the second half of the record: a more narrative song structure, using tempo and dynamics to tell the tale of a journey into the different oblivion landscapes. In this side, the band takes some time to set the mood and then unleash evocative brushstrokes, reminiscent of the post-rock crescendo technique.
For instance, “Mountains of Mind/Five Years” revolves around dissecting and putting together one riff, embellishing and curling it, employing clean choruses to expand their sound; meanwhile “Strange Meridian” is a reflective and agonizing piece with the harmonic/dissonant dichotomy; shouted desperate vocals and a pulsating rhythm that twists the forms until the keyboards ease the pain that distill the notes. Closing the road, “III” serves as a dark ambient track, an obituary after this voyage.
Along with the good drumming, the guitar tone stands out as another great feature on this album. It’s heavy, distorted and bleak. It changes with grace between the clean sections, and the echoing voicing makes the chords vibrate through the air.
Along with that, the production and mix is clear, but still have that gritty sound in the lower end that makes it very special for the sake of the expressive aspect.
Shrouded in a veil of desperation, III chokes you while it disappear your surrounds.
Indesinence’s III is out now via Profound Lore Records.
What do you think of these releases? Shout it out in the comments section and do not forget to follow the bands at their respective social networks!