Village Of Dead Roads
Desolation Will Destroy You
posted on 1/2010 By:
As pleasantly bleak and calamitous as so much death and black metal aspires to be, give me a good doom or sludge album that makes my skin crawl with those lumbering, menacing riffs, and I’m a happy dude. The last time I heard Erie, Pennsylvania’s Village Of Dead Roads was on a split with Spiritu, and I had to go back recently to break out the CD again and see why these guys didn’t gain enough interest for me to check out Dwelling In Doubt, and now I remember. The unsure awkwardness of their previous material is a mere shadow of the music on Desolation Will Destroy You, and this now on-hold project birthed one hell of a sludge album that unrepentantly rips through genre tags with an exuberant yet pounding collection of tunes that is certain to satisfy listeners who prefer more well-plotted and intelligent bands of this nature.
The shaky Alice In Chains meets Crowbar vibe of their debut split has transformed into something far removed from those cleaner, more accessible tones. Now resembling something closer to a melding of Rwake’s Voices Of Omens, and The Sirens Of Silence by Swarm Of The Lotus, Desolation…spits, ascends, fights, and dies through eight tracks of grinding sludge that isn’t opposed to melody, progression, or startling psychedelic heights. Some tracks such as “Servants Make The Best Assassins” roar and stomp with direct purpose, whereas centerpiece “Of Sickness And Separation” takes a more roundabout approach that incorporates psychedelic elements in frugal amounts to help expand upon the build of the strong midsection and huge conclusion of the song. “Giving The Snake Its Venom” also remains in undaunted forward motion even as it growls and shifts without falling off the rails, but 8:29-minute titan “Halo Becomes A Noose” spares no expense when it comes to dynamics. From soft clean guitars to the percussive landside of its closing bridge, Roads effortlessly devours the time by allowing for each musician and instrument the luxury of individuality while keeping the songwriting focused and lively, then coming together to form a wall of crushing sound.
“Weight Of Loss” also takes the mix of light and very heavy to a different place by never letting the atmospherics shimmer for very long before riffs that rival death metal bands come trouncing through to make you feel thoroughly trampled, and ready for closing ass-kicker “Leg To Stand On” to finish the job. They go down swinging hard, and put a convincingly loud exclamation point on the end of this surprisingly driven affair. Even though most of these tunes don’t settle for one speed and stay there, and incorporate many different twists and hurdles along the way, their structure isn’t as unruly or haphazard as a band like Swarm of The Lotus, and also doesn’t quite match the bombast of Rwake’s more hook-laden habits. There’s nothing too unconventional about their assembly skills, so it’s easy enough to follow, and there’s little chance of getting worn out by keeping the running time to a conservative but still respectable 41+ minute length. There’s not much ingenuity, but the goal doesn’t appear to be breaking new ground, but instead to add another layer of concrete on top of the foundation.
If this does turn out to be their final breath, it sure the hell wasn’t a wheeze, and if this road is indeed dead, then its funeral was a loud and angry one. Dependability is fine, but when you want something that’s going to dig in a little deeper when it comes to riffs with traction to spare without overdoing it on the unnecessary horsepower, then this is one ride worth getting the wheels dirty. The cover is as deceptively dangerous as the music inside, keeping you knee-deep in the bog while making sure it keeps your attention at all times. Well done, and it would be cool to see them pull it together again when considering the path to higher quality Village Of Dead Roads travels here.
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