jueves, 30 de junio de 2011

DEPRESSIVE MODE "Tales from the Lonely Lands" (2011)

band: Depressive Mode album: Tales from the Lonely Lands year: 2011
genres: funeral doom metal, ambient origin: Turkey


I don’t really know if it’s because of my condition of having one of those terrible nights that I have fairly enjoyed this album. Believe in me, the name of this band is not a joke, this is extremely depressive music. Depressive Mode should not be confused with finish gothic/doom metal band Depressed Mode, who, by the way, have disappointed me with their second release 4 years ago. And, of course, Depressive Mode shouldn’t be confused with electro-pop legend Depeche Mode, neither. They are a two-person band from Turkey who had already published one album before. And now they’re back with a second full-length album featuring 10 tracks of pure melancholy.

Depressive Mode has an interesting conception of music, as their Facebook page claims: “We believe that music is simple. And due to our nihilistic outlook to whole life, began to transform our feelings to tunes.” And, yes indeed, their music is minimalistic, twisted and raw yet quite effective. It’s funeral doom metal with a considerable amount of ambient music elements. Even the recording quality is low and simple. This kind of minimalist, as I’ve always said, brings a more depressive feeling to music, especially when we talk about genres like funeral doom metal or depressive black metal. Although they talk about the simplicity of their music, let me tell you that they’re not as monotonous as lots of funeral doom metal bands uses to be. In fact, the songs are relativity short, about 5 minutes length each one.

This second album entitled “Tales from the Lonely Lands” brings us 46 minutes of torturous dosage of funeral doom metal. The album sounds quite similar to funeral doom solo project Lord Grief. The most relevant similitude are the keys which are set to create a dense atmosphere of melancholy, especially in track 2 “And the Angels Buried Themselves” the keys are close to Lord Grief. The importance of keys is shown in tracks like “And the End” and “Mournful Hopes” with a simple yet catching use of piano. They even include two whole ambient songs: “Bridge of Moonlight” and “Came to Die”. The total darkness generated by keys is well stringed along with mournful weeping guitars and slow riffs, which, in my opinion, are missing some loudness as keys swallows and pushes them down, you can check it in the song “Brave Enough” in which the sound of slow, almost droning guitars becomes the secondary element as keys begin around minute 2. Very good song though. Drums are computer-generated and make me think about Lord Grief once again. They are slow and simple, just in the way they have to be in funeral doom metal. Contrasting with keys and ambient elements, vocals are hellish, they are very deep growls. In fact, the album opens with a brutal guttural growl. Nevertheless, vocals also include outstanding whispers, and spoken words as well as an interesting female vocals session in the song “My Lands”.

Depressive Mode brings a true journey through the most damaged feelings one can have. Listening to this album will just paint you a soundscape of loss and loneliness. The minimalistic structure of this music brings the feeling of misery needed in this soundscape. Depressive Mode ends their self-description saying: “…So we hail all people who can feel the same way as us and who can open his/her heart to the touch of magic language of music on this short and pointless life...” I join them in this journey through this short and pointless life indeed. An album recommended for fans of funeral/ambient bands like Krief de Soli, The Liquescent Horror, Hymn of Lament, Fungoid Stream and, of course, Until Death Overtakes Me, among others.

Check'em Out

lunes, 27 de junio de 2011

ARGUS "Boldly Stride the Doomed" (2011)

band: Argus album: Boldy Stribe the Doomed year: 2011 genres: heavy/doom metal origin: USA


Hailing from Pennsylvania, Argus is a relatively young band that has gained a well crowded number of fans in the underground metal scene. “Boldly Stride the Doomed” is the title of their second offering released this year. Honestly, I didn’t run into their first album released at 2009. That album had a quite good acceptation into the scene. And now, it seems like those who already knew this jewel band are pretty excited with their new material.

Argus plays very well worked heavy/doom metal from the old school. The band seems to be clearly influenced by such legendary icons of doom metal like Solitude Aeturnus and Candlemass. In fact, Argus features the amazing former vocalist from Penance, Butch Balich. This is interesting enough to check out this album. “Boldly Stride the Doomed” has the feeling of traditional doom metal from the 80’s, which seems to be alive once again these last years, regarding the amount of good traditional doom metal albums that have been released these years and now “Boldly Stribe the Doomed” is added to the list.

Despite the clear relation with traditional doom metal sound, Argus has points of originality, especially when we realize about the grand work made on guitars. Argus’ sound is driven by guitars and high vocals. There are amazing riffs, some of them in the traditional groove, but some others are quite complex, like rising from a progressive metal song. Moreover, Argus does not seem to have complexity as the main goal of their music, like Confessor used to do. Riffs from songs like “Fading Silver Light” and “Wolves of Dusk” are a taste of well executed progressive guitars (some said Oversoul?). Furthermore, Argus shows their gifts as guitarists by playing wonderful solos, like the one included in “The Ladder”. Another extra element to the traditional doom metal sound is the eastern groove driven guitars in “Durendal” as well as in other tracks. However, remember that Solitud Aeturnus also had some similar elements. Drums are played from mid to down-tempo. Take a look at epic 11 minutes length song “Pieces of Your Smile”, it begins with slow drums, similar to classic “Black Sabbath” song (of course, by Black Sabbath), guitars sound heavy and the song progresses to a mid tempo rhythm with outstanding riffs around minute 9. Vocals are also well executed, while they are not so high, they sound really good and fit exactly with the kind of music that Argus manages.

The overall production of this album is wonderful and, personally, I find this release as one of the best of the year. This kind of bands remind us that there will always be good doom metal albums, they worked hard and the result is a wonderful peace of well executed music. Argus remains as an underrated band, hope with “Boldly Stride the Doomed” more metalheads come closer to their music. I widely recommend this album for every fan of heavy metal and doom metal genres.

Check'em Out

40 WATT SUN "The Inside Room" (2011)

band: 40 Watt Sun album: The Inside Room year: 2011 genres: doom metal
origin: United Kingdom


I can’t find the words to explain what I felt when I found out about the return of Patrick Walker to the doom metal scene. You surely remember him as the vocalist, guitarist and song writer of the now legendary doom metal band Warning who produced one of the best albums in the genre: “Watching from a Distance” a colossal discharge of emotions, slowness and heavy riffage released at 2006. Unfortunately, Warning came to its end three years later. I didn’t know anything about them until this year. In March was released an album by a band named 40 Watt Sun, whose line-up is extremely surprising, featuring Patrick Walker. Looking for information in the web, we find that they’ve been playing live using this name since 2009. Patrick Walker has joined Christian Leitch, member of the well known doom metal band The River, he was the second drummer of Warning as well. A new bassist, William Spong, joined too. Although 40 Watt Sun’s first show was five years ago, they didn’t release anything ‘til this year. This first production is actually a full-length album, including 5 brand new songs. It is entitled “The Inside Room”. So, let’s see what’s inside this dark room:

Personally, “Watching from a Distance” is one of my favorite albums ever and you can imagine what I was expecting from this new release. Furthermore, it’s impossible not to compare anything related to Walker with “Watching from a Distance”. This kind of comparisons are source of bad criticism and use to annihilate worth listening albums. But this is not the case. Let me tell you that “The Inside Room” is an amazing album and will not disappoint any Warning fan. 40 Watt Sun features all the highlights one can expect from a Patrick Walker’s album: slowness, extremely heavy guitars, his unique vocal interpretation and, of course, a lot of melancholy and emotions. In fact, one can’t understand why this is not a Warning album.

Guitars inside this room are heavy as hell, they’re very distorted, sometimes noisy. Riffs are quite slow and monolithic. Each song is repetitive and monotonous which is not a problem for doom metal fans at all. This kind of monolithic music brings a more twisted atmosphere, up to 9 minutes long songs creates very depressive feeling in the listener of this album. This is how, drums are also down-tempo and slow enough for a funeral doom metal song. One of the new elements in this recording is the use of acoustic guitars in some passages. Opening song “Restless” includes these guitars in the chorus part. Nonetheless, this is not the only new thing for Warning fans: I find some light in Patrick’s song writing. This is not the same of the new Anathema's approach, but a tight ray of light across the sea of emotions expressed by Walker. Specially, paying attention to the last track “This Alone”:

“But you make me feel like I’m someone else
You make me smile
You make me know myself
You make me feel like I’m someone else
And I’ll fold you here in the back of my mind and I’ll let you go now”

However, I don’t find it happy at all. Personally, I get it as a farewell or the feeling of the existence of something that can bring peace but it’s not always there. Nevertheless, it’s almost a waste of time trying to understand completely such personal lyrics in the typical style of Walker. He expresses himself referring to very specific moments, including time indications and, even, names of places. Although some moments of the album shows some light, the overall mood of lyrics is melancholy, nostalgia and longing. Of course, self Patrick Walker interprets these lines in a very well way. His vocals are expressive and poignant. Just the way we like him to do it.

If you’re asking for the best moments of this wonderful album, let me tell you that each second is worth listening to. However, since the album was released I’ve been in love with first track “Restless” and the last two ones: “Carry Me Home” and “This Alone”. These songs are quite melancholic and its melodies are amazing. “Carry me Home” has, i.m.o., the best lyrics in the album. “This Alone” has a funeral doom driven rhythm, becoming the slowest song of this record.

The few changes in this album do not really modify notably the sound we already knew. 40 Watt Sun keeps on sounding like Warning, I don’t know if this kind of comments bother Patrick Walker, they shouldn’t, since he has to feel very proud of his time in Warning. And, surely, 40 Watt Sun will make it on its own, starting with this masterpiece!