Release DetailsLABEL Napalm Records
RELEASED ON 11/6/2007
Days Of Wrath
posted on 2/2008 By:
Death and doom...eh, not my favorite combination. The vocals can be so grating over the slower, more melancholic and sometimes elegant riffs. Don't get me wrong. There are a few bands that do this subgenre proud, Winter being the first that comes to mind. Hell, Dream Death qualifies, too, and I love Journey Into Mystery, but these are the exceptions. Given my relative disinterest in doom/death (or death/doom...whatever), I wasn't ecstatic about reviewing Syrach's Days of Wrath, but it ultimately proved to be a compelling listen, largely due to the strength of the guitar work.
Like any good slab of doom/death there's an ebb and a flow to Days of Wrath. It starts off pretty forceful with "Are You Able to Breathe Fire?" but the slow trudge of "The Firm Grip of Death" evokes a more reflective mood. Of course, there's a pervasive, overwhelmingly somber undertone throughout, but a song like "Semper Ardens," a heavy slap in the face if I ever heard one, is vastly different from "The Firm Grip." Nonetheless, common themes like despair, misery and everything else that might stir a tear out from underneath your cold, blank stare show their not so pretty little faces here. Rolv-Erik Berge and Noralf Venaas make for a good team of guitarists, and whoever wrote these songs did a fine job. There's a sense of adventure here. It's definitely got that epic soundtrack vibe. No, it's not entirely unique but Syrach embrace the diversity in their sound, and I can certainly respect that approach. Don't expect any gripping riffs, though. It's a consistent but not great album. There are few boring passages, and there are few ripping moments, too. It's a sacrifice you've got to be prepared to make as you listen to Syrach's second full-length.
As many good things as there are here, the production is not one of them. It's downright muddy, dull and lifeless. I can see what Herbrand Larsen (Enslaved) was trying to do here, but the deliberate attempt to move away from sounding modern actually hurt the band. Something more along the lines of how Isole sound on their new one would have fit great here. I mean, at the very least, push whatever the music's best element is (the guitar hooks, IMO) to the forefront. When all is said and done, though, this gets the thumbs up from someone who didn't have to pay to hear the album. Should you buy it? Depends on how deep you traditionally dig into your wallet for an album in this vein.
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