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Sidetrack Walker : Come What May

Sidetrack Walker's first album of new compositions sails in unorthodox, eclectic waters tinged with the melancholy spirit of Doom.

Regular readers of Doom-metal.com will be familiar with Dominik Sonders, the creative inspiration behind Sidetrack Walker, whose writing graced these very pages. Sidetrack Walker are essentially a one-man project with all lyrics and music written and performed by Sonders with assistance from guest musicians here and there on a smattering of tracks. The tracks on 'Come What May' were recorded sporadically throughout 2015 and 2017, and offer a personal and often moving insight into the psyche of their creator. Stylistically, it's a departure from much of the content of Doom-metal.com, and combines an eclectic range of influences including classical, darkwave and a liberal dose of modern prog.

There isn't too much that can be described as Doom metal, or indeed any genre of metal, audible at any point in the album, but the melancholy spirit of Doom is retained and expressed nonetheless, albeit in unorthodox fashion. Heavily piano led, the album begins with the stark, plaintive notes of 'Behind the Scenes'; a brooding proggy number loaded with elegant misery. Folky acoustic guitar, sorrowful vocals and sparse piano create a lush soundscape that gets the album off to a promising start.

There is often a classical feel to the album with powerful piano interludes used to great effect. 'The Coming of May' in particular creating a dramatic and evocative sound with strings adding subtle depth to an affecting track. Whilst 'Come What May' is largely subdued throughout, there is a good variety to the album, and some excellent musicianship. There are prog influences in abundance, with some highly complex and lengthy arrangements, and even occasional shades of Floyd here and there. 'Good News', probably the proggiest track on the album, is an 8.5-minute journey with numerous twists and turns. Again, it may not be strictly Doom in any kind of traditional spirit, but the glum, tortured soul of Doom is present, nonetheless. But, as I've said before on these pages, it's easy to become hung up on categorisation and what does or doesn't adhere to the strict rules we like to apply to things. Albums are either good or they aren't, and this one is definitely the former.

Further eclectic flourishes are thrown into the elegantly downcast creation that is 'Come What May' with the synth effects and drums on 'Savour' creating an 80s Darkwave feel that adds an extra dimension, and some folky influences in evidence here and there, too. It's a well crafted and interesting album with some clearly very personal lyrics that is challenging and diverse. The crushing riffs and brutal vocals that drive many of the albums we review here are eschewed in favour of a more delicate and nuanced approach, but the dark heart of Doom is not entirely forsaken.

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Reviewer's rating: 8/10


Tracklist :
1. Behind The Scenes
2. No Expert
3. The Coming Of May
4. Savour
5. Good News
6. Bad Riddance
7. The Water Falls For Us
8. Ghost Stories
9. Order Of The Day
10. The Closing Of May
11. Coda

Duration : Approx. 62 minutes

Visit the Sidetrack Walker bandpage.

Reviewed on 2019-02-16 by Nick Harkins
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