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Comatose Vigil : Fuimus, non Sumus...

Comatose Vigil’s second full-length brings together all the musical clichés of Funeral Doom. In an enjoyable way.

‘We were, we are not’ - that is what I believe the title of the new opus by Russian doomsters Comatose Vigil is supposed to mean. However, Comatose Vigil most certainly are, not were. At least to me they seem to be doing quite well at the moment as they just released their second full-length on Russian ‘Doom Metal major’ Solitude Prod., and the album is almost guaranteed to get a very good response.

It is indeed a very solid release in most if not all aspects. It has pretty good sound/production quality, which as we know doesn't happen too often in Funeral Doom; the musicianship is practically flawless, every note being really executed with high precision. Although rather solid, the songwriting doesn’t escape all the musical clichés typical of the genre. If I'd have to throw in four adjectives best able to describe Comatose Vigil music, that would be ‘slow’ (well, moderately slow for Funeral Doom I suppose), ‘heavy’, ‘atmospheric’ and ‘long’ (the album is made of 3 tracks going over the 20 minute mark each). What to me sums up quite accurately what Funeral Doom is all about.

The music is driven by heavy guitar riffs, with occasional start-stop riffing that, enriched with added reverb, creates that good old crushing effect and heavily sustained atmospheric keyboards playing dramatic chords practically all the time (you'll find no ‘piano’ passages here). Add a decently (though not extremely) low growls to the mix, and you get something quite reminiscent of Shape of Despair (well, how can you escape that comparison playing this kind of music?) with a little bit of Skepticism maybe. And maybe even early My Dying Bride (think ‘Sear Me’/‘The Return of the Beautiful’ off ’As the Flower Withers’), though I'm not quite sure about that. The heavy parts are variated by more keyboard-laden moments, with occasional little exta things like acoustic guitar picking (somewhere in the middle of ‘Autophobia’) and alternate vocals.

The bleak yet majestic atmosphere is maintained throughout the whole album. The long compositions don't vary much, there's not much progression here and it really takes time for anything to happen - though this actually seems to work well for the album's overall bleak and hopeless atmosphere. The right way to listen to it would probably be to just let oneself drift away in this endlessly slowly flowing stream. No glitches, no weak moments, no unnecessary nonsense - just one solid flow. Not many peaks and valleys, though in general there is always an alternation between heavier parts and some keyboard dominated moments, during which drums sometimes fade away (probably also in a bit of a Shape of Despair fashion). All in all, it takes a patient listener.

Low variation isn’t necessarily a flaw in a Funeral Doom release. It’s maybe even the opposite, as nothing gets in the way of the mood the musicians so thoroughly tried to build up. But what I do see as a flaw here is, well, too much ‘averageness’. There's nothing really special/unusual in this release. Not that it was supposed to be, but too much of ‘typical’ does some considerable harm here, as sometimes you cannot help thinking for yourself: ‘Didn't I hear this all before?’A bit of originality has been introduced by writing the lyrics of each song in a different language: English, German and Russian - but that’s about it. If you're looking for something new and refreshing, this is probably the wrong album as it's just not there.

And, to finish on a mournful note: there seem to be one ‘glitch’ that may not really be a glitch, but it bugs me personally. The second track - ‘Autophobia’ - sounds kind of majestic and spacey to me, while the title (and, well, automated translation of the lyrics) suggests it should be something really scary - suffocating, disastrous, something like that. But well, that might just be a subjective thing, and it doesn't make the track worse than it is.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Fuimus, non Sumus...
2. Autophobia
3. The Day Heaven Wept

Duration : Approx. 75 minutes

Visit the Comatose Vigil bandpage.

Reviewed on 2011-11-30 by Mykola
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