The Unkindness Of Crows
We’re hit with death metal ‘til it’s rupturing every orifice, slaughtered by new black metal monthly, and trounced by deathcore at every turn. Yet doom seems to invoke a natural timelessness that most other genres can’t touch no matter how hard they try, or how much they saturate the market. Perhaps it’s because, arguably, doom is the mother of all that is heavy. I also understand the value of drone even if I don’t respond well to it, and entwining drone with doom can be a stunningly awesome experience (The Great Cessation is all the proof you’ll need in that regard), so when getting an unhealthy earful of The Unkindness Of Crows, it becomes apparent just how difficult and invasive some of this stuff can be if you’re not used to it. With a pedigree that includes Iceburn and Ascend, one a genre-bending kalediscope, the other a bastard cousin of SunnO))), Gentry Densley emerges with an album that is satisfyingly heavy, if not a little simple in form, but I’m absolutely sure most doom aficionados will find at least something to enjoy with this disc.
“Simple” is the best, yet most generic term I can conjure up, but that’s not to mean Eagle Twin is especially paint-by-numbers. It merely implies the lack of overdone cavernous droning feedback, an absence of bizarre jazz-influenced spastics, and a noted concentration on the riff to base the backbone of the songs upon. It chugs, lumbers slowly and ponderously along, but frequently ignites brief and enlightening fire beneath the smoldering coals. Vocally, I’m still not quite sure what to make of this. Clarity is stunningly obvious with the vocal mix; you can make out every word, and hear every space between cracks in the voice. It’s effectively tweaked from most doom vocals where the tone is more important than the message, but in this case, the violent malevolence of phrase is unavoidable. It’s an entirely unpleasant expression, and depending on your perspective, it might be exactly what you wanted.
As far as the actual riffs go, it’s a lot of down-tuned down picking, with sustained notes bent and stretched to within an inch of their lives. There isn’t much here that makes you jarringly stand up and take notice in that respect, unfortunately, but the moments that do catch the ear are great ( “10,000 Birds Of Black Hot Fire“). It stays nice and slow as noted earlier, relying more on a cloying overall mood to make it’s case known, but there is no lack of groove to be suffered through as evidenced by the rollicking, nearly spectacular lunge of “Carry On, King Of Carrion”. Despite the simplicity, this is not a lifeless album by any stretch, as closer “And It Came To Pass That Birds Fell To Earth As Black Snakes” is positively hypnotic in its Minsk-like lurch, and I’ll dare to say the disc finishes stronger than it starts, which is just the way some albums are. No big drama there, really. What matters is it stays strong throughout, sticking to good, solid riffs, consistently visceral vocals, and of course, lots and lots of murderous atmosphere.
It’s doom, pure and (again) simple, Ladies and Gentlemen. Bubbling hot, thick as ox snot, and festering with the plague just the way you like it. For some, it’s a given that Eagle Twin must belong among their collections, and there’s talent coming out of Densley’s every pore. The Unkindness Of Crows isn’t here to convert anyone, but instead it satisfies the faithful, and sometimes that's all you really need. The concept is crystalline, so indulge, breathe it in, and gamble that your lungs won’t collapse on the exhale.