Into The Abyss: To Greet Death In The Cold, Vivacious North

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Monsieur Nordling, the all-loathing beargod is back with reviews of a few different doom bands (and not only has he learned the use of a third-persona, he also liked stuff *gasp*). Let’s doom out.

Our fields are doused with the workmen’s sweat,
the fields, bearing only stones.
Empty nets from the waters we raise
only speak three-sheets-to-the-wind

‘Gainst the wall I cry
if I cry at all, this is how
I carry my legacy’s burden
‘Gainst the wall I cry
if indeed I do cry
’till the end ’tis my burden

Can’t tell my neighbours from atom
no greetings to be heard
With surnames I refer, to everyone I know
if I even bother to recall.

And here, goddamnit, you won’t blaspheme God
nor the crucified
the same hymn we sing and read
like Devil does the Bible

‘Gainst the wall I cry
if indeed I do cry, this is how
I carry my legacy’s burden
‘Gainst the wall I cry
if I’ll cry at all
’till the end ’tis my burden

Hello, and welcome back. Back into the abyss, where we shall doom until the end of our days. No, doom until the end of all time… and beyond! This series has been absent for some time, even if Link did a great job delivering the goods not so long ago. I didn’t want to end up like once-a-master-now-hardly-even-a-lord and never follow-up to my own series, so I have decided to collect for you, once more, some bands that have been rocking my playlist lately and somehow fit under the genre tag of “doom”. However, this time around the “doom” isn’t quite as oppressively present and there’s less strictly a theme that guides my thoughts and the band’s style as there has been before. Anyways, I hope you enjoy what you find here today.


Tomb of Finland

Suo-men Haata

I’m going to begin easily. You will get used to the pain sorrow, you will learn to love the somber solitude, but all in time. And now it’s time for… a Finnish homo-erotic-art icon? Ah, Tomb of Finland. There’s a b at the end of first word. Whether that’s an unintentional pun or it’s a completely intentional pun the music is what matters and names can be put aside, hopefully.

Tomb of Finland is a doom/death/black hybrid dating all the way back to ’09. It began as a solo-project of Jasse von Hasti (ex-Charon) but grew into a four-man band before recording Below The Green. Melodic death and thick atmosphere a ‘la a more restrained Swallow The Sun dominate the album while the blackened edge stays hidden for most of the time, only surfacing as intonations when called for.

A more guitar-driven effort than the aforementioned band, Below The Green is not entirely indifferent to Tales From The Thousand Lakes but delightfully sounds more like a Tomb of Finland album than anything else. The album’s finest moments are well apart, “The Autumn Rain” plays on clear, softer melodies. Sorrowful and calm at once, while “Sunfader” goes for a riffier and blacker approach – whereas “Damnation” is a fuck-all-end-of-the-world anthem that even brings into my mind pictures of My Dying Bride. This is one of those albums that doesn’t really bring anything altogether new to the table, but is no less good than the works of the visionaries who forged the path.

ToF lives in a world where there is no salvation. A concrete hell ravaged by never-ending winds, a world where dying unloved in agony is the most pleasant way to go, and Below The Green is a perfect encapsulation of this. Eight songs and an intro in 37 minutes of mournful, hate-filled tunes that will leave you cold in the best way possible. Don’t miss this or I will send Edward to haunt your loved ones.

Listen to the full album on Spotify, give them a like on Facebook and buy the album here.


Cross Vault

RistiKammio

Are you perhaps in the mood for some old fashioned doom, without all that modern-time-jibbajabba? Have I got the thing for you! Cross Vault is doom. There is no other place to fit them. Add something or take something away and you’ll lose their essence. There are no traces of latter-day extreme metal or trad doom riff-ness. If you measure all doom bands to a certain Swedish group of legends (though I don’t see why you would), Cross Vault won’t seem like a riffy band for you. And in any case they remind more of Reverend Bizarre (whom I greatly enjoy), yet don’t quite sound like them either. There’s no one band you could pinpoint as Cross Vault’s big influence even when nothing they play is unheard of (and this, perhaps, is the theme of this edition).

Cross Vault plays at a slow pace, but behind acoustic guitar-laden moments of peace, the river of riffs, and vocals like a most acclaimed wizard (not that one) casting black spells of destruction from a distance, you’ll find a restless band. Anxious, as if something straight out of Dmitri Gluhovski’s nightmares was lurking nearby and continuing at a steady pace contained the only hope of survival.

While the riff-o-meter may not reach Candlemass heights, Spectres of Revocable Loss lacks no staying power, and while the overall tempo is slower, the band is not a bit less endeavoring. Like the album’s name suggests you will find as much romanticism here as you will find despair with a melodic side being flashed at times, like in the album’s highlight – the ballad-like “A Query in Chains“.

I only (very) recently learned of this band, so I’ve got plenty of listening to do, but they’re already putting out a new album, little more than a year after their debut. The first song released off of The All-Consuming is called “Revocable Loss“, which hints at an existence of a conceptual series. If so, I am most pleased. Also, the song is good.

Give the band a like on Facebook, listen to “Void Of Old, Void To Come“. Buy their stuff here or here.


Red Moon Architect

PunasenKuunArkkitehti

This is a band I wager most of you won’t dig. They mine from the same rock of atmospheric death/doom as Swallow The Sun (and now I hate myself for constantly using StS to describe other bands. I mean, yeah they’re a great band but I could just as well describe Red Moon Architect as a doom-ey death band whose song-progressions are more based on chords than riffs). A band that utilizes a deep growl (one of the better ones I’ve run to recently) and mixes it with bright and ethereal female vocals, also sometimes used as a melodic instrument. I could tell you that the lush keyboards alone give the band a twist of their own, not that they’d necessarily need it, but it’s always a welcome one.

Or I could just have said that they sound something like StS’ Hope meets Shape of Despair if they were faster. That would have been a lot easier but not as rewarding for you, the reader – or me, the writer, so let’s go with the first one, shall we.

Fall, RMA’s sophomore – released earlier this year – begins with three seven-and-half minute songs, the lattermost of which, The Other Side, is one of the album’s highlights but which also means it’s a difficult album to dive headfirst into. So allow me to suggest “Isolated“; it’s led by the vocals of Anni Viljanen and contains an especially beautiful and ambient-ish part demonstrating the band’s ability when it comes to simple but effective vocals. Or try the style-summarizing “Cradle”, which you can view below.

On Fall, nothing overstays its welcome. The riffs, the melodies, the beauty and the strangulating heaviness walk hand-in-hand. I’ll be damned if the coming years and tides won’t bring us news of their triumphs.

Give them a like on FB, listen to them on Spotify and buy their album(s) from here

Nokken Screams by Theodor Kittelsen is the painting used as a header image.

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