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Lethian Dreams : Red Silence Lodge

While its central influence is that of Doom, this album is surprisingly eclectic and never restricts itself to one sound.

Lethian Dreams is a band that Iíve kept tabs on for a while. Though they donít attract much attention in the Doom scene, Iíve always felt that they were decent and had great potential. The band is perhaps most well-known for their first release, Bleak Silver Streams. While it was a good album nonetheless, it seemed a bit formulaic, pursuing a style all-too similar to Draconian (that style being melodic doom/death metal with harsh male vocals and clean female singing). On top of that, the music suffered from weak programmed drums, a so-so sound quality, and the generic male vocals. On Season of Raven Words, the band dropped the male vocals, and started pursuing a more unique and ambiguous style. Red Silence Lodge continues in this fashion, fixing all the nuances that brought the music down on the former two releases.

Quite frankly, Red Silence Lodge is the album Iíve wanted to hear from Lethian Dreams ever since I first discovered them. What we have here is Melodic Doom Metal that destroys its listener with its desperate lead melodies, utterly suffocating riffs, and an overall intensely depressive atmosphere. Yet, the sound is lightened with a wintry ambiance, perpetuated by acoustic and reverbed clean guitars, faint synthesizer harmonies, and the dreary clean voice of Carline Van Roos. The ethereal and stoic style of singing, which most closely resembles Audrey Sylvain of Amesoeurs and Peste Noire, is ultimately the staple that binds the elements of atmospheric and extreme styles of Metal for this album.

Something that I find refreshing about this album is that, while its central influence is that of Doom, the music is surprisingly eclectic and never restricts itself to one sound. On each track, the slow tempo and melancholic aura of Atmospheric Doom is blended with rich textures of Shoegaze and Post-Rock, occasionally leading to unexpected peaks of Black Metal (particularly on second track íShadesí). Tremolo picking and up-tempo drumming are used quite frequently, demonstrating diversity and uniqueness to the typically minimalist soundscape.

Though synthesizers do make an occasional presence, the music is very much guitar driven. The most notable similarity I could pick up on, in terms of the guitar playing, would be that of mid-period Katatonia. At certain points throughout the album, particularly on tracks íLeaving Lightí and íDonít Hold On to Meí, the rhythmic guitar boasts repetitive and numb sounding 4/4 patterns that resonate the icy trademark sound of Brave Murder Day. Yet, I find that the music truly excels when it reaches dirge-like slowness; desperate and monolithic riffs which remind the listener that the band consists of the same members of Remembrance.

As a full album, itís a given that this will appeal to fans of Remembrance. Since the music is so varied and has so much going on, itís hard to really say for sure who will enjoy this. From my point of view, the simplest comparison I could possibly make would be to call it a mixture of Shape of Despair, Agalloch, and the earliest albums of The 3rd and the Mortal. I will definitely say that those who have listened to Lethian Dreams before and werenít all that impressed by them should look into this. You will truly be surprised how well the band has evolved. Also, anybody who enjoys music that is heavy, yet ethereal and atmospheric, will most likely enjoy this.

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Reviewer's rating: 10/10


Tracklist :
1. Red Silence Lodge
2. Shades
3. Dust
4. Midwinter
5. Leaving Light
6. Donít Hold On to Me
7. Black Winds

Duration : Approx. 46 minutes

Visit the Lethian Dreams bandpage.

Reviewed on 2014-05-03 by Dante DuVall
Aesthetic Death
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