Release DetailsLABEL Candlelight
RELEASED ON 3/8/2005
posted on 3/2005 By:
As a member of a crowd that at times feels fairly small, I greatly enjoy the work of bands like While Heaven Wept and Pandemonium. Melodic Doom is a style rife with pitfalls and there are relatively few bands that can pull off the daunting task of creating convincingly tragic songs without going overboard on the cheese factor. Frankly, the tug of war between sadness and triumph the style strives to embody is the easy part. Anyone with a basic education in modal theory knows that evoking a desired mood is little more than chord selection. Proper execution can lead to passionate and powerful albums capable of encasing the listener in mood and atmosphere so thick that a reflective listen is in itself a cathartic experience. The other side of that coin is a horrible descent into the trappings of what amounts to little more than sappy rock music using emotion as a crutch to make up for a lack of good ideas.
A relatively young Swedish band called Slumber has a resume which gives the impression they are up to the task of shouldering the genre’s burden. With two fine demos under their belts, these Swedes have landed a title shot with Karmageddon Media. The idea to release the band’s previous two demos (Seclusion & Dreamscape) as one album seems to have been the right call, but the real genius here stems from the decision to re-record most of their repertoire along with the new track "Fallout" for this album. The fresh recording does nothing but help these stunningly emotional and epic songs. During times like the bridge on the track “Distress” there is little more to do than put what you are doing down and let the tide of heavy melody crash across your mind, washing away whatever the day’s trouble may have been.
Ted Larsson and Mikael Brunkvist prove themselves as a rhythm section to be reckoned with on this label debut. Their outstanding sense of timing and perfect knack for accentuation permeates every second of Slumber’s somber hymns. Even during passages where the percussion escalates into a busier climactic state they hold the band in check with a tempo that reassures the listener Doom is not just a clever adjective from the label promo sheet. This Fallout beast remains heavy as hell while blending a complexity that makes each song an enthralling experience. The intricacies of composition here are manifold: Interplay between desperate growls, chants and female choir keep the vocals consistently interesting and the broad array of tonal combination created by the trio of guitars and keyboard never once left me wanting.
The engineers at Sweden’s Panic Room studio are deserving of equal credit for this fantastic album. It is not often that such an excellent balance is struck between reverb channels to yield perfect separation between instruments. Everyone’s home has been neatly carved out; the punchy drum kit saddles right up next to the lower harmonics of the bass guitar and while rhythm guitars are biting and full of power, the melodic leads are diluted with just enough metallic sounding space to lift them above the rest of the mix. As icing on the cake all tones are glued together and intertwine with the beautiful and present flow of Ehsan Kalantarpour’s mesmerizing and airy keyboards.
This fantastic album is highly recommended to those who enjoy the work of Katatonia but feel that band could stand to raise their level of song craft a few notches.
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