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The Drowning : Black Lights and Silent Roads

A split is always a peculiar type of release. It’s a partnership, it’s a duel, it’s a double-faced mirror that each band tends to the other, it’s a competition the jury of which is ultimately the listener. One can’t help comparing, of course, but I guess that’s the game, the intention that motivates it.

Some of these encounters are failures, some do taste as if drinking coffee with mustard, spreading strawberry jam on peanut butter.. who can eat that, I ask you?! (who you say?)... Anyway, here, dear Doom worshippers, you have IT! THE split! The perfectly oiled vicious little mating: My Silent Wake vs The Drowning.

Why does it work so well, so fluently? What I can only say is that both bands are hailing from England. There is an english vibe in Doom: be it The Peaceville Three, early-Cathedral, The Prophecy or The River, they all display the same kind of rainy moods, of elegant atmospheric soundscapes that bear in their heart a ‘noble rawness’ that I link with The United Kingdom.

My Silent Wake have composed 4 songs that develop very ambitious musical ideas; it’s progressive and fluent while keeping the heavy and dark edge of Doom; complex without ever departing from a direct emotional impact. I won’t be talking about sheer Death Doom, here; the long journey brings you elsewhere, on other shores of other, softly gleaming and disconcerting golden seas. Some vast parts of their compositions are devoid of any vocals, which let you admire the excellent musicianship of these gentlemen.

Ok, now, to the MASSIVE piece of their part: ‘Rebirth’, their last track is a 23 minutes (!) supple, elastic, winding ode of beauty and melancholy: gentle piano, slightly distorted guitar, mandoline, dulcimer. Harsh grunts and broken clean voice make their apperance during the second part of the song, bringing it to a long momentum that gives you delectable shivers before the songwriting, once again, subtlely changes its direction: slowing down, wa-wa effect, round bass, refined leads... and you let you take by the hand, all amazed, open-mouthed, beholding a band that has grasped all the romantic spirit of the seventies prog scene. Man, you not far from King Crimson, Yes and Deep Purple, here!

Now, I had the peasure of reviewing the last full-lenght of their fellowcountrymen The Drowning. I finished my little scrabble by saying this:
’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.’

Well, I think you can’t pretend loving Doom Death if you still ignore these guys. They know how to write solid, well-balanced songs, sharp and dark and still, as I said it here above, cutivating a ‘grandeur’, a rawness that you percieve underneath the massivity, the brutality, yes, of the sharp Doom attacks. The Drowning are much more straightforward in the way they structure their songs. The Drumming is up-beat, the guitars have a crispy and acid accents, it’s most often fierce and very dark, an ever-whirling machinery that crushes everything in its way.

But okay, we’re speaking Death Doom here, so you still have those melodic and a tad sad parts that work as counterbalance, as a whip to make the compositions keep crawling. That’s where I’ll make a fundamental distinction between both bands: MSW’s intentions are all oriented towards LIGHT. Whereas The Drownings’soul is much more tortured and embraces DARKNESS. The songwriting is more abrupt and less complex. The goal however is absolutly aimed: suffering dirges spiked with epic movements, sparkles of an untamed mind. A talent that explodes on their last song ‘Photograph’ which shows their ability to invent original and memorable melodic patterns.

This is undoubtlely the split of the year since dawn of times for all Death Doom lovers. Even the split of the year for every one into any form of Doom as I think it is coherent like very few others. Mandatory.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
My Silent Wake
I. Am (Eternity)
2. Bleak Endless Winter
3. Devoid of Light
4. Rebirth

The Drowning
5. The Doomsday Feire
6. Arc Light
7. Silent Epiphany
8. A Photograph

Duration : Approx. 74 minutes

Visit the The Drowning bandpage.

Reviewed on 11-06-2010 by Bertrand marchal
Forever Autumn
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