Release DetailsLABEL Blackdoom
RELEASED ON 7/19/2003
posted on 7/2003 By:
Summer in Boston really isn't the best time to review any doom metal, but fortunately for me, this week has been rainy enough to bring my spirits down to the proper level where doom can be fully appreciated. England's The Prophecy is the first signing to the new record label Blackdoom Records, and so far Blackdoom is batting 1.000. What's in store for the listener is some excellent doom/death metal from the My Dying Bride-school of melancholy.
Matt Lawson's vocals alternate between a deep death growl like Akerfeldt in the early Opeth days, to a droning clean voice that's used sparingly. The drumwork of John Bennett is naturally not the fastest thing you'll ever hear but he does a fine job of varying beats and fills in order to keep the slower parts interesting. But what really makes this album a winner is the gripping guitarwork of Greg O'shea and Christian Moore-Wainwright. Ashes is full of harmonized leads that create bleak soundscapes that suck the listener in and crush his/her spirits. But fear not, there's plently of thick, heavy crunch to be had, it's just not played at 250 bpm. Sparse, atmospheric keys are contributed by the newly-recruited Katie Colbrook. As hard as it is to believe in today's world of dark metal, she's not doing any operatic vocals. Ashes has mostly great, fitting production, although those few times when they jump into a fast death metal-mode, the guitars just sound thin and underproduced: garage-like. Turn em up!
Ashes has six tracks, mostly in the 8-10 minute range, but they keep each song interesting throughout. The Prophecy (song title) is my favorite. It's over nine minutes in length, overflowing with beautifully dreary leads. It's as if they play a 5-minute solo in the middle, and then the song takes a left turn, ending with an upbeat, folky theme. On the other hand, Blackened Desire is by far the heaviest song on the album. This band may also have a future in blackened death metal. Imagine a raw, dirty, more-intense Slayer from the mid-80's, crossed with atmospheric black metal, like Dimmu Borgir from a few albums back. Also stellar is the closer Till Light Enshrouds. A ten minute journey of depressing that plods along slowly, yet never getting dull. The ending of the song is like a slow, somber, sweet death to the album. This isn't "slit your wrist"-music, it's "swallow a bottle of pills, turn the lights out, light a candle, and slowly wait for the darkness"-music.
The Prophecy kicks ass. They're hitting the States on the Doomination of America tour in August with Morgion and Mourning Beloveth. This won't appease the brutal metallers, but then again, they probably stopped reading after the first paragraph anyway. For anyone else who appreciates the dark and crushing side of doom, get your hands on Ashes.
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