Album Review: Choir – “Songs for a Tarnished World” (Black/Doom Metal)

Written by Barlovv

Choir – Songs for a Tarnished World
> Black/doom metal
> Releasing March 24
> Brazil / Singapore
> Total Dissonace Worship

I’ve mentally chosen to classify this album as a piece of “literal doom”, because while it may fit into a stylistic kinship with doom metal, there is something else at play here that doesn’t really seem to fit. Songs for a Tarnished World is, to be frank, a fucking oppressive album. If last year’s Chat Pile record simulated, for me, a full-on panic attack, Choir brings forth the absolutely crushing existential fucking nightmare of living on a planet racing to destroy itself. Unflinching, and absolutely devastating. A literal omen of doom. Literal doom.

The reason for that is clear in the press information, too: “Each track on Songs for a Tarnished World narrates stories of a world where life has ended from the point of view of its landscapes.” From the first moments of the record this tone is firmly established, a dissonant drone which slowly transitions into a screaming crowd. Anguish and noise. The mood is set early and clearly. The droning qualities carry into the rest of the song, overlaying the instrumentals with that chaotic noise. Then we’re introduced to the vocals and we are on our way: they’re as grim and brutal as the rest of the song thus far. There is no doubt about how Choir wants you to feel while you’re listening to this.

That deliberate tone is backed up further in the artist’s own words, as they say in their bio: “The project draws heavily from experiences lived and observed from the point of view of minorities in a dangerous, cruel Latin American country – a continent that holds the majority of murders per 100k inhabitants, and an immense homeless and incarcerated population.

The message is clear, and it is not one that looks fondly on the failings of humanity. It should be said here that Choir is not simply a “fuck it all and let it burn” type of nihilism, but is actually using the energy for something positive, with profits from the album (beyond production costs) being donated to situations that support the homeless and women’s rights in South America. So, see? You can hate the world we’re living on and still take a stab at making things better.

While there are some drone elements throughout the album, there is also a real presence of extreme and chaotic metal in here too. Drums are fast and hard in parts and the cacophony of it all does become really overwhelming. The guitar and bass are, and it feels weird to say this, a bit more on the subdued side, there more to bring some cohesion and musicality to the chaos. All in all though, there is really not a weak spot here – other than the fact that it’s not exactly going to be topping anyone’s “feel good songs of the summer” playlists and instead reminds me that the summer means wildfires here in my neck of the woods, and those wildfires are getting worse and… shit ok, spiraling a little.

While I don’t have lyrics to dive into necessarily, the thematic statement that I quoted in the second paragraph of this article, that the album is from the perspective of landscapes after the end of life, is a really fucking interesting one and this approach to that theme really sets some strong tonal imagery. As much time as we spend admiring or fearing landscapes, that sentiment is not returned; and given the things enacted on the land by various forms of life – let’s be real, by us – it’s not hard to imagine that the view point of a landscape would be exactly this album.


Songs for a Tarnished World is a fucking beast of a thing. It’s a brutally oppressive 45-minute album. It also occurs to me that after all of the times I’ve said that, it may not be clear to everyone that I’m being complimentary, so let’s be very clear: this album is fucking exceptional and you should listen to it. Right now (or, if you’re reading this before release, on March 24).