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Process of Guilt : Portraits of Regret

It is quite a rare thing to find a really quite unique, original doom-metal band these days, and it is even rarer to find one from Portugal. However, with 'Portraits of Regret', a potent, passionate, innovative modern doom masterpiece, Portuguese atmospheric doom-metal maestros Process of Guilt defy all of these past traits.

A quick but not identical comparison to PoG. would be mid-period (though there are influences from all of the band's musical incarnations) Katatonia, as well as the more traditional gothic/atmospheric doom comparisons such as My Dying Bride, Lacrimas Profundere, The Gathering and The 3rd and the Mortal and more influences from a little farther afield (this is definitely a metal CD, and similarities are not just limited to within doom). I also at times even notice fleeting similarities with the guitar riffing of Deinonychus, but generally, Process of Guilt are a very unique band and all comparisons would only be based on slight similarities and influences.

One of the things that make this band stand out is the somewhat mechanic, electronic feel to their music, which is of course a rarity in doom-metal. The (impressively) good production, frequent use of samples, electronics and programming, oft distorted vocals, at times gothic/electronic/industrial style distorted guitars and drums that, though according to the demo’s sleeve are man-made, sound distinctly artificial and programmed (but in a good way), all mould to form this mechanic feel whilst making the music feel almost organic in a confusing way. It also really makes the CD extremely atmospheric, and flow fervently, in an mechanical fashion.

Despite these technological characteristics, 'Portraits of Regret' is still very emotional and doomy. Each song solemnly pours out sadness, regret (unsurprisingly) and despair, and there is a definite bleak, cold air looming throughout the demo, from the sorrowful, solemn moments to the intense, sullen outbursts of speed and bitterness. The vocals are particularly effective, especially with distortion and other such effects, really adding to the intensity of this demo, with the enraged, tortured screams and then gloomy, sad spoken words, and they range in deliverance. Then there is the melancholy guitars, often repetitive and heavily distorted, and in the speedier moments brutal and cold, and then quite depressive and almost dreamy when the music slows, and always retaining the dominating, key role in the music, and doing a good job of it. Meanwhile, Bruno Sabino, the bass guitarist on this CD, is no longer in the band, but his role on 'Portraits...' is nonetheless important, with the ardour bass gushing at times solemnly and at others torturously, but always astutely and fondly. The percussions are delivered to perfection, rhythmically controlling the music and making it as intense as it certainly is, and their artificial sound the domineering contributor to the overall modern, mechanic, almost industrial feel to the demo. There is also a lot of additional programming work from samples, synthesisers, keyboards and the like which also add to the melancholy and atmosphere of the music overwhelmingly, as do the glum lyrics, which are thankfully not too overbearing but are emotive and appropriate nonetheless (they too are somewhat unique, and make for some interesting doomy song titles).

'Portraits of Regret' is very difficult to define, and despite the pulverising outbursts of speed and mostly upbeat, (doomy) mid-tempo pace to the music, it is still undoubtedly a doom-metal release in my view, largely down to the ambiences and feelings it creates. From there the sub-genre of this demo is anyone’s guess, but I would suppose that the CD would certainly appeal to the more mellow, modern, gothic/atmospheric doom fan, though that is not to say the music is not heavy, it can be intensely crushing, brutal and severe in fact. My favourite song is the first track, a mixture of an intro and the song 'Dark Patterns', an almost unbearably intenseand atmospheric song, however, no track is really better than the other on this CD, it’s just one utterly magnificent, atmospheric, bleak, intense opus, filled with passion, pain, desperation, and sorrow, and most reassuringly of all great originality. Process of Guilt are certainly onto something here, and this is one of the best new band’s I’ve heard in a long time...and with only a few years of existence under their belts, and this only their debut release, they have a lot of promise. A fantastic young band to definitely watch out for!

You can access Process of Guilt's website here for more information, MP3's, news and how to contact the band.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Intro/Dark Patterns
2. Faded Pictures
3. Settled Down
4. Dream Rise
5. Departure

Duration : Approx. 30 minutes.

Visit the Process of Guilt bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Stephen Burrell
Aesthetic Death
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