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Sea Of Despair : Море Отчаяния (Reissue)

Solid Gothic Doom from Russian Sea Of Despair's reissued debut, but still on the wrong side of truly memorable.

'Море Отчаяния' (Russian: More Otchayaniya, meaning 'Sea Of Despair') can be called nothing other than solid Gothic Doom. It is filled with a variety of songs, and an unfortunate amount of speaking interludes, but the songs themselves are decent pieces of work. Sea Of Despair demonstrates a good understanding of the methodology of Doom Metal, but it's this attribute that holds the album back; no song on the album strikes me as particularly memorable, while each one does all the right things.

The band plays together quite well. No instrument is lazy in the arrangement. Bass and drums do their own thing at the appropriate places, and much of the cymbal work is quite creative. In addition the excellent rhythm section, some interesting guitar leads find themselves on top of the music, and there are several solos that fit the tracks perfectly, and gave the song that moment of energy that comes with every good guitar solo.

Some of this is muddled by the average production, though. While the mix does hit all the usual necessities, such as volume, clarity, eq, and balance, it feels somewhat dry. The guitars don't crunch quite as they should, and the drums sound weak, though every piece of the kit can be heard. Gothic Doom needs to have an impact in terms of atmosphere, and this has to be brought out by "big" sounding production, not meaning layered or full of effects, but mixed in such a way as to fill out the sound spectrum and crush the listener, but the mix doesn't do this.

Vocals go back and forth between growls and female cleans, and are mostly satisfactory, although the singer could show a bit more range, and the growler could work on his technique. The low screams sound as if they are projected from the throat, not the diaphragm, and this makes more an amateurish sound. Some people find this type of tone pleasing, but to me it sounds lethargic, and this weak sounding tone isn't attenuated by the aforementioned dry production. In short, the growls only feel like a few more rhythms on top of the music, and their presence doesn't fill out the arrangement as it should. The cleans however, are quite good, and often catchy; if they would only go to the more energetic side of vocal performances—a couple of belting choruses maybe—they would be complete.

Summing this all up: this is an above average release. Sea Of Despair have given the vast world of Doom Metal another perspective, one that I'll be sure to remember. With its excellent album art, and Cyrillic song titles, 'Море Отчаяния' finds itself a good testament to the tradition of Russian Gothic Doom.

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Reviewer's rating: 6.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Дождь... Плачет Дождь...
2. Слезы Дождя
3. Когда Не Хватает Слов...
4. Шепот Ночи
5. Сердце Сковано Холодом Близкой Зимы...
6. Сумрак Зимы
7. Я Так Ее Любил...
8. Волны Отчаяния
9. Я Лежал На Дне Моря...

Duration : Approx. 44 minutes

Visit the Sea Of Despair bandpage.

Reviewed on 2016-08-11 by Alex Drozd
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