|On their debut, Herodias delight our ears with the unlikely combination of raw Funeral Doom and outstanding soprano vocals.
Can you imagine raw, downtuned guitar power chords in the vein of Hierophant overdubbed with some of the best soprano vocals ever heard in Doom? If you either think this would never work at all, or that this would be just your thing, you definitely have to listen to the debut album by Herodias!
Granted, the comparison to Hierophant is somewhat questionable – on the one hand, the production on Dance of the Seven Veils is far less crushing (but similarly raw), while on the other hand the material here is not always as stripped down. There are some instances of piano, samples of fire and rain and even an acoustic guitar in “New Passage”, reminding the listener of Consummatum Est. Still, the better part of the album is very basic, relying on simple chords and minimalist drumming (which would have benefitted from a stronger production) and avoiding the baroque opulence of their Italian colleagues. On occasion a vague male vocal somewhere between whispering and growling adds to the overall haunting mood, but it is always quite low in the mix and does not figure too prominently. The lead guitars featured in the last track “The Tower” are a welcome addition leaning more towards melodic Funeral Doom. In all, there is hardly anything special or outstanding about this release – apart from the soprano vocals mentioned at the outset.
The vocals really make all the difference here and easily stand the comparison with big names in the scene such as Cecilie Langlie or Toril Snyen. It is not only the quality of the vocal performance which strikes the listener, but also the vocal lines which are so skilfully composed that they stick to your mind right away while creating a captivating atmosphere. Whenever present, the vocals are soaked in reverb and very dominant in the mix, reducing the remaining elements to mere background textures. There is only one basic vocal motif per song, making the whole thing even more accessible; however, in connection with the simplistic approach the band are taking, this also means that there is little complexity and variation on Dance of the Seven Veils. Together with the somewhat muddy production, this is the primary point of criticism: If Herodias paid some more attention to interesting songwriting on future efforts, they might come up with something really excellent and add their own vision to the Funeral Doom scene. But for a debut, this album displays a lot of potential even as it is, so followers of the genre (provided that they enjoy female vocals) would be ill-advised not to check this out – especially since the entire album is free for download on the Bandcamp site. Do not let the rather weird opening track scare you away from listening to the rest!
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1. Dance of the Seven Veils
2. Cult of Herodias
3. New Passage
4. A Crooked Limb
5. The Tower
Duration : Approx. 43 minutes
Visit the Cult Of Herodias bandpage.