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Suffer In Paradise : Ephemere


Playing it a little too safe, Suffer In Paradise's sophomore appeals without achieving lasting impact.



While I was quietly waiting for the warmer months I was given this piece of funeral doom to digest and feeling somewhat despondent at the time decided to play it and crank it. Almost immediately afterwards the rain finally came and cleaned up the remnants of winter. You can imagine that it was the essentially the perfect atmosphere to experience a new funeral record. Suffer In Paradise play a very well written style of funeral doom that is sure to please but unfortunately doesnít quite hit the mark when it comes to longevity.

First off, I was fortunate enough to listen to this slab of funeral dirges when the setting was completely perfect. I mean, how often do the stars align to create the perfect listening environment for music of any kind? Thus my initial reaction to it was very high and like any good layered Funeral doom had to be digested and listened to again and really dissected. The very nature of the Funeral crawl practically begs for itÖ and though 'Ephemere' is very well thought out and written I really got the feeling that it is very conventional at its core. The keyboard melodies are down trodden and there is a nice mixture of some tremolo picked melodies and the slower single note drones weíve all come to expect but it just feels like something isÖ just a little off?

And after really sitting down and listening for it I think Iíve found it. A cursory glance at the members reveals the band has a programmed set of drums and although they at first glance are very well thought out I get the feeling that a real drum performance, whether sampled afterwards or not, would really liven things upÖ And yes I can hear you screaming "But Eli! It's Funeral Doom, it's supposed to be like that!" but if you start listening for it youíll see the sort of things Iím talking about. For example, listen to the drums during the start of 'The Swan Song Of Hope': they feel almost lost like they needed a drummer to really fill that spot up. I even notice during some of the double bass flourishes (or even during the blasting section in the same song) where things are supposed to be elevated in intensity that the intensity seems to not quite make it there. You can get away with this much easier at higher tempos , with more chaotic styles but things like this can really bog down a Doom record.

But not all is lost!I have to mention that the rhythm guitars are nicely produced hammering out the heavy and cleaning up just enough during both the single note melodies and the tremolo melodies, while the bass is just heavy enough to thicken up the rhythm sound and have its own voice during a fewer of the sparser moments. Also, the vocals fit the style like a glove though a bit more inflection or style variance would be welcome. I also want to give a shout out to some of the acoustic guitar work during 'The Wheels Of Fate' - not only is the melody hypnotizing but is very traditional Russian sounding. Nice! Though again, the four count drum programming directly after kills the build up. So close! The keyboards carry much of the melody in the songs and just a tad better sample choice for the Choir sounds would have really helped them along. Like there is one point that I'd swear to god I was playing a high quality SNES game (not in a bad way! Love me some SNES). All in all though, nicely done! Itís a bit strange sounding at first but you get used to it.

Songwriting wise though these guys obviously know the genre well. They hit all the right tropes but really play it safe. There is one sort of Death Metal-inspired riff that crops up during 'The Wheels of Fate' that really hits at the perfect time and I really wish the song would have ended on it, since that is the only real build up that hit the mark for me. Itís as though they forced themselves to end on a slower tempo just because the genre is like that. 'Ephemere' just plays it too safe for the majority of its hour run time and I canít help but think that adding a live drummer would have really spiced things up as far dynamics and longevity go. Like everything is just so organized to a tempo track that it just begs to break out a bit. Not to mention that some better sampling could have brought that dynamic edge out a bit more.

And thatís really the story of 'Ephemere' . Itís good and obviously was crafted with a lot of love of the genre but really could use a bit more adventure. Honestly I think a lot of the dynamic range that this could have had is killed by those damn programmed drums. Will this hit all the right feel during a storm? Will the rhythm guitars crush and suffocate at high volume levels? Yes to all the above, but it just doesnít stick to you on repeated listens. Which is a shame since it really could have. I get why people use programmed drums since not only is it a hard instrument to record since you would absolutely need a good recording room and the resources to capture all the parts but separating the pieces of the drum kit to get them to sit in the mix properly can be a nightmare sometimes. Thus, things get expensive quick. That being said though, they bring so much more life, dynamics and presence that only a drummer can replicate. Get these guys a drummer!!


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Reviewer's rating: 6.5/10

Information

Tracklist :
1. Ephemere
2. My Pillory
3. The Swan Song Of Hope (Cantus Cycneus Pt.II)
4. The Wheels of Fate
5. The Bone Garden
6. Call Me To The Dark Side
7. Outro

Duration : Approx. 64 minutes

Visit the Suffer In Paradise bandpage.

Reviewed on 2018-06-24 by Eli Elliott
SolitudeProd
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