|Rote Mare, A/K/A Phil Howlett, is a one-man doom juggernaut. He lives it, he breathes it, and he dreams it. That's the inescapable conclusion I draw from repeated listening to Rote Mare's newest demo. A doom fanatic for over 20 years, Howlett has the smarts and ability to draw on the best from the 80s, i.e. Cirith Ungol, Trouble, 'Sabbath, and Candlemass, inject a syringe full of 70s groove, then add in more recent doomsters such as Reverend Bizarre and Church of Misery. The results lie somewhere halfway between the 70s-style doom rock of Rote Mare's 'American Terrorist' from 2005 and the slower, heaver 'Funeral Songs II' from 2006. In other words, 'The Red Sea' is the best of both worlds. |
The album is chock full of unusual melodies distributed through looooooong songs that never drag - quite an accomplishment right there. Phil adds incredible depth to the proceedings with his gut-level understanding of the emotional/spiritual state that is doom, communicated through gripping emotions and lyrics. His voice is clean and powerful, though to these ears he occasionally veers just a shade too far into The Cure-ish weepiness. He's a wonderful guitarist, pumping out those old school riffs. As is so often the case with one-man efforts, there is a weakness, and it's the rhythm section. Phil does yeoman’s work on the rather spare drums and bass, and he's adequate to the task. I can't help but think, however, that a veteran rhythm section would elevate Rote Mare into the realm of the gods. I know, I know: finding musicians like that is about as easy as finding Lars Ulrich's modesty.
The fact is, 'The Red Sea' is prime, heavy, traditional doom with just a little funeral seasoning and a hint of Gothic drama. Phil's on his own program, characterized by passion, accomplished musicianship and songwriting, and honesty, and he deserves your support. After all, he's offering up what all of us talk about wanting. Hit it!
1. The Red Sea
2. The Weight
3. Slow Fade
4. A New Dawn
Duration : Approx. 43 minutes
Visit the Rote Mare bandpage.