Void Of Silence
The Grave Of Civilization
posted on 6/2010 By:
Void of Silence hail from the Italian peninsula, representing doom metal in the ongoing class action lawsuit of Substance v. Presentation. Alright, that’s bullshit, but if such a case really did exist, The Grave of Civilization would only add to the possibility of it ending via settlement. Included on this, their fourth, is a sound engrossing enough that it is easy to ignore -- and thusly forgive -- an overuse of ambience, sometimes directionless passages, and length-for-length’s-sake songwriting style.
The Void of Silence sound is founded in layers, beginning with the vocals. In the six years since their last recording, Primordial’s Alan Averill has left and been replaced by Brooke Johnson of The Axis of Perdition. His wailing all-clean delivery comes off as a combination of his predecessor and Tiamat’s Johan Edlund. Supporting this heart-wrenching and oft-stunning performance is an extremely wide combination of elements that will seem schizophrenic when described on paper. The most prevalent are highly sustained leads (think funeral doom), plodding drumming, and rhythm guitar that should bring to mind the more sorrowful and expansive side of doom. Further still can be heard sparse keyboard symphonics, even sparser touches of electronic or industrial, various sound effects (listen for some serious Blade Runner synth noise in the title track), chanting choral vocals, and near post-rock clean guitar echoes.
Alongside a lush and well-balanced mix, it is exactly these various puzzle pieces that give The Grave of Civilization its palatable style. And in spite of these many elements, it remains an overwhelmingly minimalistic journey that fits the name of the band and album equally. Void of Silence’s primary methodology is to draw the listener in through heavy sections of crafty riffing and emotive vocals, only to quickly abandon this in favor of extended ambient passages. As a result, most songs feel episodic, as does the album as a whole. It can thusly be difficult to differentiate between individual tracks, a trait further exposed by the existence of some very lengthy songs (two cross over the 15 minute mark). While all feature some killer material (the title track’s chorus or the building intro to “Apt Epitaph” are particularly nice), only the relatively short “Temple of Stagnation” maintains its brooding momentum throughout its duration, and as such provides the album’s most engaging ten minutes. The use of piano and keys here is especially well-executed, showing how Void of Silence know their way around diverse instrumentation as a means to bring their sparse landscapes into focus.
The Grave of Civilization is undoubtedly excessive in its attempts to draw out time itself, and could certainly have been cut at fifty minutes as opposed to sixty, but doom fans are more than encouraged to give this album a good fitting. Johnson’s vocal performance is worth it alone, and he is backed up by songs that are often captivating and always at least engaging despite their meandering nature. Many will find this album to be far too loose in the crotch, but others will find it to fit like that special pair of jeans that you absolutely refuse to get rid of.
Register to post comments.