|If you're looking for a Gothic Doom album with mostly everything packed in it, When Nothing Remains' debut is far from being the worst choice available.|
The first decade of the 2000s was more or less dominated by what's called 'the Firebox Sound': Funeral Doom bands using a huge sound, massive atmospheric keyboard parts and lots of melodies to create the feeling of mourning and sorrow that is an inherent part of Doom Metal as a genre. Today it seems that the decade of the 2010s shall be dominated by 'the Solitude sound' which is more or less the same as the Firebox one, albeit in the Doom/Death genre and with a big emphasis on Gothic Doom/Gothic Metal elements. This first album by the Swedish band When Nothing Remains (OK, let's be frank: when I saw the name of the band, my first thought was that they were another crappy Metalcore outfit) could be seen as the exact definition of the sound associated with the Russian label.
As a fan of Gothic Doom, I'm well aware of the fact that this particular subgenre is first and foremost all about clichés. In fact, it seems to drown in them – no, to revel in them. When bearing this background in mind, it accounts for the artwork of this album, which is beautiful and yet full of clichés. A guy dressed in Victorian clothing, the ghost of a deceased woman (a dead bride, perhaps?), the Grim Reaper and His carriage, the full moon, a cemetery and some bones... OK, all checked. All of the song titles deal with mourning and sorrow of various sorts: checked again. When it comes to the music, When Nothing Remains display a less symphonic and more straight-in-your-face version of Draconian, complete with the presence of Johan Ericsson as session singer for the clean vocals. Some may think now that As All Torn Asunder is just another Gothic Doom album whose sole destiny is to gather dust and be forgotten about. It is not. For despite all their classicism (or maybe because of it), When Nothing Remains manage to resurrect something truly long forgotten: the sound of the early Gothic Doom of the 90s.
The songs are long but they are well structured, and they all display great moments: you won't get bored by the 10 minutes of 'The Sorrow Within', for example. The guitars manage to deliver a great deal of melody in the solo parts (e.g. the great middle part of 'Her Lost Life') while the different take on the Beauty and the Beast vocals (two males instead of the classic male/female opposition) brings some fresh air. But behind that, you'll find a style of songwriting which is reminiscent of the early days of Theatre Of Tragedy or Orphanage. This is where When Nothing Remains truly shine – in their ability to revive a forgotten way of approaching the genre, and to make it sound modern at the same time.
There are still things that need to be developed a bit more, but As All Torn Asunder is still quite good for a first try. It will be particularly interesting to see how the band will evolve in the future. But right now, if you want a Gothic Doom album with mostly everything packed in it, this is far from being the worst choice available.
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1. Embrace Her Pain
2. The Sorrow Within
3. A Portrait of the Dying
4. Mourning of the Sun
6. Her Lost Life
7. In Silence I Conceal the Pain
8. As All Torn Asunder
9. Outro : Tears
Duration : Approx. 70 minutes
Visit the When Nothing Remains bandpage.