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Process of Guilt : Renounce

The first full length by Process of Guilt exploits much of the potential of melodic Death Doom and should be of interest to any fan of the genre.

Portugal is not exactly the epicentre of the Doom scene. Nevertheless, a handful of talented bands have emerged there over the past couple of years, and Process of Guilt surely are one of them. On their first full-length Renounce, they have illustrated that there is still room for creativity in the long-established patterns of the Death Doom genre.

The track “Becoming Light” is a clear highlight of the album and also serves well as an example to illustrate the style. It is structured around a calm middle section framed by a main riff. This riff, accompanied by strong and distinctive growls, has a very simplistic but effective rhythm in the vein of Brave Murder Day, the influential classic by Katatonia. There are several instances throughout the album where this reminiscence comes up, and they are more than welcome because of their captivating atmosphere. Process of Guilt utilise such influences to the benefit of their songs and do not just copy whichever elements seem suitable. In the above example, psychedelic undertones in the guitars (another important element of the entire album) make sure that the music maintains its individual identity. In contrast to the heavy frame, the middle section of the song consists of clean guitars and repetitive drum and bass patterns. The vocals are reduced to spoken words (think of a much less melodramatic version of Darren White) and some subtle singing in the background. Such extensive breaks are typical of Renounce, and their Post-Rockish minimalism is probably the only aspect which might turn some potential listeners off the album – especially those who like their Doom more aggressive and raw.

On the other hand, there are also heavier moments which reveal more of an old-school Death Doom influence. “Burden” is a fine example of that: When you hear the punishing guitar lines on top of a crawling double bass at the beginning of the track and a bright smile covers your face, you’ll know that you heart is in the right place! But the song also brings us melodies dripping with heartfelt sadness just the way they ought to be in this genre and far from the ostentatious, romanticised melancholia of some more watered-down bands. In comparison to the song highlighted earlier in the review, “Burden” is definitely more complex, and this holds true for most of the tracks. However, “Window” can be seen as the mirror image of “Becoming Light” in terms of structure: Here, a heavy and intense middle section is framed by a calm motif grounded by an ultra-catchy, almost Trip-Hop-like bass hookline! As absurd as this may sound, the often laid-back rhythms of Renounce made me think of Trip-Hop more than once when I first listened to it. This aspect does not compromise the heaviness at all, though.

On the whole, Renounce is a very good Death Doom release which should be of interest to most fans of the genre. It is also much more convincing than the second album Erosion with its emotionally drained riffs plodding along in endless ennui. There is nothing bad I could say about the production, either – it is powerful, crystal-clear and even somewhat individual. Of course, this is neither the best nor the most original longplayer ever to be released in the genre, some riffs are in fact quite unspectacular, but against the backdrop of all the generic material out there today, a great work like this should not be overlooked.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Motionless
2. Becoming Light
3. Fragments
4. Window
5. Falling
6. Crawl
7. Burden

Duration : Approx. 66 minutes

Visit the Process of Guilt bandpage.

Reviewed on 2012-02-15 by Dominik Sonders
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