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Assyrian : Self-Portrait

Assyrian have the potential to release a killer Doom Death album but…

I love Doom Death. Seems to me I always have and always will. Whenever a new album of said genre pops in, I always feel like a kid discovering a new present under the Christmas tree. There was no exception when I started to download the Assyrian promo, but from the very first notes, I got into that "WTF" mindset. This hasn't left me ever since, despite the numerous spins.

Starting off with ‘Impromptu’, this EP shows some promises. Bright ones. Doom Death at its purest form strikes you with this very feeling of impending doom we’ve all come to love. Very reminiscent of (very) early My Dying Bride, with crushing guitars that are not afraid to speed up the pace, Assyrian’s vocalist delivers mind-blowing growls à la Aaron from the Towards the Sinister/As the Flower Withers era. Except ‘Impromptu’ feels more like a big intro, with this orchestra opener maelstrom that sometimes feels very much like improvisation rather than songwriting.

I guess my main concern is about what they do next. Because even the best of Doom Death cannot explain why they’d want to mix it together with something that sounds like Prog / Indie à la Porcupine Tree with emo clean vocals. Now, there’s nothing wrong with adding something 'foreign' into Doom Metal, but the result here is a bit unsettling and on a track like ‘The Gray’, where the more traditional Doom Death parts are true jewels, why insert something that sounds like a depressive song for troubled kids? This dichotomy is at best insipid and at worst painful to hear, especially considering the band's ability to deliver something excellent in between the more 'indie' parts. It’s almost as if it were a mash-up of two different bands from two vastly different horizons.

I can only assume they’ve done so for the sake of originality, but sometimes too much originality may be detrimental. Now if I wanted to be perfectly objective and give the band some credit and not sound like a grumpy old fuck, I should certainly add that people into Opeth or late Anathema might really appreciate this odd combination. Probably some of you will rave about it. My biggest deception being that these guys have the potential to release a killer Doom Death album, but their eagerness to show off as 'original dudes' is simply too much to handle, making Self-Portrait more of a miss than a fail, but nonetheless not the masterpiece it could have been.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Impromptu
2. Emphatic Narcissus
3. The Gray
4. Colour Me
5. Phobos
6. Quiet
7. Bright Green Light
8. And Ashes (Demo)
9. Endless (Demo)

Duration : Approx. 38 minutes

Visit the Assyrian bandpage.

Reviewed on 2011-06-10 by Frédéric Cerfvol
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