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Nathan P. Holly : The Suffering

This CD has been an almost endless debate between me and myself. Is it doom metal or is it not? Sometimes the doom is very apparent. Other times it's really hard to tell because of the ballad structure that many of the tracks have. Ballad doom? Well, the description does kind of fit better than almost anything else I've come up with. I guess in the end this release simply defies any such genre descriptions. It's just too original. By the way, the cover of the album has a note that says "To prevent album artwork from fading, keep this CD out of the sunlight". Now if that's not a doom cover I don't know what is.

The man behind this CD, Nathan P. Holly, plays all the instruments himself and writes all the lyrics to boot. That is, except for the drums which, to my surpirise, were laid down by a drum machine. The reason that this came as a surprise is that it doesn't have the dull sound that drum machines tend to give off. It sounds 100% natural. All the music is actually home made on a 8-track recorder, but the mixing of the CD makes it sound like a professional mixer was hired to do it. A lot of studio recorded albums don't have this high quality. The clean vox (which constitute the main vocal style throughout) in particular sound very good indeed.

'The Suffering' has a lot of interesting things about it, especially the ballad sound from many of the tracks. Other tracks have a very clear doom/gothic sound to them and the last track even has a feeling of melodic doom/death at times. The influences are many and varied. Different parts of the music give you different feelings connected to different bands, Opeth, November's Doom, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Aarni being just a handful of them. I hear all of them in the music, but the end result doesn't give the impression of a clone release. In fact, it doesn't sound like anything else I've heard in my lifetime!

The album is in reality a story. It begins with the past. From chapter i - iii you'll find the tale of how a certain "she" vanished from his life and how he had tried to ease his pain. Apparently "she" was the lady that the person in the lyrics loved and lost. Then there is a turning point in chapter iv. The pain has in the end driven him to a dawning madness which escalates in chapter v. In chapter v he imagines her dying in his arms, and can't tell whether it is real or not. In the final chapter the end comes as he decides that it is the only way to end the suffering. But instead of finding relief he's just thrown into an eternal void, forever alone.

This is perhaps one of the most innovative releases I've heard in a long time. It sort of creates a genre of its own while still retaining its connections to similar genres. The CD is out for free here and I reccomend all fans of meldoic and romantic doom check this out. [edit by author: The album is no longer for free download on the link, but you can still find a lot of samples there from this and his second release.]

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Chapter i: Desolate
2. Chapter ii: The Suffering
3. Chapter iii: Endgame
4. Chapter iv: Am I Dreaming
5. Chapter v: In Death...
6. Chapter vi: I Am Alone

Duration : Approx. 31 minutes

Visit the Nathan P. Holly bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-2005 by Arnstein Petersen
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