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The Drowning : This Bleak Descent

There was once three founders of a genre called Doom Death. You see who I am referring to, no need to mention them. All Doom metal fans know their name, their albums and their label like you say your Pater Nostrum. Amen.

The Drowning is the direct product of this seminal trio. Traditionalists, faithful to the dogmas of their church, the band was also born on the same dreary ground of England; something in the local weather, probably. They know their prayers by heart and, as respectful believers, they produce them with application and, it must be stressed, with a great fervor. If their music has the flavor of the early years of My Dying Bride ('As the Flower Withers'), Anathema ('Crestfallen') or Paradise Lost ('Gothic') (well, Okay, I’ve said it... But you had guessed it, devout fanatics that you are!), that should not diminish their merits, which are real, by reducing them to plagiarists. Because these are of two kinds: there are those who copy the form and those who understand the spirit behind the form. The music of The Drowning has spirit; it is full of intelligence, sensitivity and emotional force.

The rough growls of James Moore are very persuasive, even if they have some of the angry accents of Darren White. The band shows a true talent. The atmospheres are what they should be: gloomy and desperate. The long compositions sometimes run out of steam, but there are also interesting and effective rhythmic ideas, samples, quiet and moody moments. The music of The Drowning is dark and anxious but now and then, it has also some great lyrical and Heavy Metal accents; it’s obvious on 'Forever Fall' where this time it's Paradise Lost's 'Icon' that comes to mind.

Yet, beyond these obvious resemblances, there is one that strikes me more: it is Keen of the Crow. For several reasons: first, the voice of Moore whose growls and hoarse, Black-ish shrieks are very reminiscent of those of Dan Ochoa and also the strongly epic and war-like scope of 'This Bleak Descent'; the photos of soldiers from the First World War in the booklet being an echo of that.

This is definitely a good album even if it adds nothing new to a particularly congested genre . Yet The Drowning shows a talent far above the average. We must certainly keep an eye on them: in my opinion, it needs very little for The Drowning to deliver a personal work (relative and hazardous as this notion might be) that could really make them a new reference of Doom Death.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Blackened weave
2. Soulless harvest
3. In the fields of solace
4. Forever fall
5. In sufferance
6. The ashen light
7. Solitary white ship
8. Flowers for the fallen
9. The last dance of eve

Duration : Approx. 67 minutes

Visit the The Drowning bandpage.

Reviewed on 20-02-2009 by Bertrand marchal
Hate Your Guts Records
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