|On this latest album of theirs, Fall of the Idols' traditional take on Doom Metal has been diluted by a somewhat wider perspective.|
Some Doom bands are doomed for real. And for various reasons. Just take two recent examples: it took Bedemon nearly 40 years to record their first album, only to have one of their main members die before its completion! And now you can put Fall Of The Idols on that list too: they lost their drummer and arranger Hannu Weckman in 2011. Despite this loss, the remaining band members managed to find enough strength to finish up this record, in tribute to their fallen comrade. It is no wonder then to find an album which is exuding despair from every pore.
Compared to their previous offerings, one cannot hide the fact that 'Solemn Verses' is somewhat different. For a start, the pace is slower than before - to the point of bordering sometimes on the shores of Funeral Doom. Secondly, the band seems to have gathered some new influences that make their music a bit harder to categorize now: it's Doom, obviously, but the traditional take the Finns were known for until now has been diluted by a wider perspective. Still, Fall Of The Idols keep cherishing their roots, as the opener 'The One That Awaits' shows with class: this track alone is a lesson in classic Doom Metal, the Finnish style. Built up on a buzzing bass riff, this song is also home to some of the finest guitar parts the three axemen of the band have ever delivered. The vocals of Jyrki Hakomäki are strong and ferocious, and the song evolves swiftly from a mournful anthem to a more war-like song, accelerating the pace as well as the heartbeat of the listener.
To me, this song is about the only one on the album that can still be labelled 'traditional'. For the rest, the record is drowned in a maelstrom of violence and sorrow. Fall Of The Idols jump from one style to another with ease: for example, the epic 'Cycle Of The Fallen' starts as a strongly Skepticism-influenced track for the first 5 minutes, before it suddenly shifts and brings about some classic guitar melodies worthy of Candlemass through the next 4 minutes... to finally end on a slow funerary march that wouldn't have been out of place on the first Godsend album.
Then, just when you thought that everything had already been said - and well said - the band strikes again with the weird 'The New Crusade', a strange mix between Sludge parts, some ritualistic choirs reminiscent of Godsend (again), some classic Finnish Funeral Doom and even some Rock-ish elements borrowed from Doom Rock and Stoner. Imagine all that stuff with a processed voice as the icing on the cake. Spitting their venomous contempt for both humanity and (as it would seem) the current Doom scene, this song is a spectacular melting-pot that, thanks to the musicians' talent, sounds unexpectedly brilliant.
Still, 'Solemn Verses' isn't without any flaws. Many people will think that the album is a bit too much of everything, wanting to go in every possible direction all at once. This is true, and while this makes 'Solemn Verses' musically less cohesive than 'The Séance', it also shows that Fall Of The Idols aren't limited by pseudo-rules in the ways they express their Doom. It took the band 3 years of pain, and the death of one of their members, to manage to put an end to this record. With all its artistic merits, it's far from perfect and, while I've enjoyed it, it won't top 'The Séance' in my personal palmares. Still, it is a jolly good testament to the spirit of Hannu Weckman. And for that alone, it's worth listening to.
1. The One That Awaits
2. Descant Deific Psalms
3. Genius Loqi
5. Cycle of the Fallen
6. The New Crusade
Duration : Approx. 55 minutes
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