The 11th Hour
posted on 1/2012 By:
Ed Warby is an astonishingly talented multi-instrumentalist whose credits include Gorefest, Ayreon, and Hail of Bullets. The 11th Hour is his doom metal project, and he performs all of the instruments and clean vocals (with guest growls by Pim Blankenstein) on Lacrima Mortis. The two different vocal styles work incredibly well together, and a comfortable balance is established throughout the record. All of the songs (save for the conclusive “Bury Me”) are around eight minutes long, but most of the structures are crafted well enough to maintain cohesiveness without losing momentum. While the album utilizes many doom metal standards, there are also death metal and atmospheric influences throughout the album that show a marked evolution in comparison to 2009's The Burden of Grief.
There are melancholy piano interludes aplenty, and devastation in spades, but those seeking more dynamics within their doom metal may lose interest about halfway through the album. The pace is slow, steady, and solemn, which is emotionally evocative but makes for a straight hour of unwavering funerary depression.
The ethereal introduction of “We All Die Alone” gently wraps blankets of strings, flute, and keys around the listener before tightening its grip with commanding walls of distortion. The track achieves depth with ease, and showcases Warby’s flourishing songwriting prowess. It’s an amazing song, and proves a tough act to follow. “Rain On Me” is less distinctive, but harsh vocals alternating with Warby’s incredible cleans add texture and intensity. Detailed and resonant keyboard passages contribute to the beauty of each track, and the ghostly atmosphere is maintained and strengthened as the album progresses. “Tears of the Bereaved” pushes tempo a bit with more insistent drumming before plunging the listener back into a sea of gloom. “Bury Me” is the last song on Lacrima Mortis, and it is a glorious and heart-wrenching ending, and the album closes in a strong and contemplative way.
Even during its most somber moments, Lacrima Mortis never comes off insincere or prescribed. Obviously, song titles like “We All Die Alone” and “Nothing But Pain” suggest a great deal of darkness and emotional anguish, but instead of wispy tortured vocals and threadbare guitar performances, The 11th Hour exemplifies the sheer power of absolute misery. Sadness and weakness often travel hand in hand, but not so with Lacrima Mortis’ sonic selections.
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