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Doomed : The Ancient Path

With this promising first effort, the solo project Doomed delivers a real treat for Death Doom fans.

This review is a historic one for me. Why? Doomed is a solo project from Germany, which happens to be the country I live in. I have always been frustrated at the music scene here, in particular about the almost non-existent Doom scene. There are two or three German bands these days which have gained a following and are respected by a considerable number of Doom fans, but personally I think they are overrated, so I will refrain from mentioning them explicitly. Whether you like these few bands or not, the fact remains that the German scene is tiny at best. Against this backdrop, The Ancient Path is a very positive surprise, being a more than solid first release which shows a lot of promise for the future. It is thus something I would not have expected to come my way anytime soon.

Pierre Laube from Zwickau, the man behind this project, has created a crushing Death Doom album which admittedly does not add anything new to the genre, but has enough of a distinctive sound to stand out. Bass-heavy power chords roll forward like thunder, supported by a basic and functional rhythm section and a clear, thick sounding production. The riffs are overdubbed with melodic (not romantic!) lead guitar lines and some clean guitars while vague synths are always in the background to help create a dense atmosphere of gloom. The obligatory growls are deep and guttural, floating on top of the mix in a cloud of reverb and adding to the thunder-like feel. There are no fast passages to be heard apart from some occasional double bass drumming, making for an uncompromisingly doomy flow of the music which touches upon Funeral Doom tempos and atmospheres in places (e.g. at the beginning of “She’s Calling Me”). Hence, this is not really an aggressive album – the repetitive and often syncopated rhythms make it rather easy on the ears without compromising the overall heaviness. In all, The Ancient Path is an elegant balancing act between the more extreme and grim form of Death Doom and its mellow, atmospheric counterpart, and will probably appeal to fans of both.

The songwriting is not very complex, but it is all the more catchy, which is an achievement in itself within this genre: You will easily recognise most of the parts after only one spin, and the arrangements are quickly internalised as well. While this shows a talent for focused songwriting, it also means that there is hardly anything new to be discovered upon repeated listening, making the music a bit ephemeral. What is more, the album as a whole is very homogeneous, both in terms of quality and style. In effect, there are no surprises for the listener once the first track has conveyed an idea of what to expect – no fresh ideas, but no disappointments either. This minor flaw (which does not even have to be one) should not keep you from lending your ear to this well-crafted album, however, especially since several tracks can be streamed for free at the project’s website http://www.doomed-band.de/#music.

A release like this still does not make me a fan of the German football team, but it shows that there must be some talented people in this country after all, only waiting for the right moment to peek out of their miserable holes. One might as well conceive of this as a gleam of hope or solace: Hope for humankind, solace for me. A truly historic moment. (Well, sort of.)

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Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Sun Eater
2. Collapsing Guts
3. She’s Calling Me
4. Caesar’s Whore
5. Death Is no Respecter
6. My Love Is Dead

Duration : Approx. 52 minutes

Visit the Doomed bandpage.

Reviewed on 2012-05-24 by Dominik Sonders
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