Written by Mass
- Artist: Clouds
- Album: Durere
- Genre: Atmospheric Doom Metal
- Release Date: March 2nd, 2020
- Country: UK – Romania
- Highlights: Above Sea – Images and Memories – A Father’s Death
- Rating: 7.5
Verdict: I have been a die-hard fan of Clouds ever since their grand opening in 2014 with Doliu and their third album, Dor, was my 2018’s third best album. Durere, however, is miles away from their grandeur and they are clearly not at the top of their game. My take on this issue is that they have spread themselves too thin and they are releasing albums too often to the point that they have begun to repeat themselves and lose their magic. I do want Clouds to sound like Clouds, but I don’t want them to give me the same thing they have always given. I mean the atmosphere, which is the key element in any atmospheric album, is mostly unimaginative and uninspiring and clean vocals have actually worsened (take Empty Hearts as one example). Lyrics, too, remain as heart-wrenching and tear-jerking as ever, but this one is actually a plus and I am totally in favor of that; Clouds’ lyricism has always had a way to my heart. Overall, it is absolutely a worthwhile effort, but somewhat imperfect.
- Artist: Treurwilg
- Album: An End to Rumination
- Genre: Doom Metal
- Release Date: February 22nd, 2020
- Country: The Netherlands
- Highlights: In Ruin and Misery – Shallow Pools of Grief – I
- Rating: 8.5
Verdict: With this sophomore release, Treurwilg establish themselves with a trampling footstep upon doom metal domain. In addition to being a diverse and dynamic album, An End To Rumination manages to maintain its cohesiveness and unity. This coalescence of unity and diversity is what propels this album and the band to the peaks. By diversity I mean each of the 5 pieces of this bundle touches upon various subgenres of metal: “Fragility of Mankind” begins with a citation and then tilts itself towards atmospheric black metal and then morphoses intangibly into doom, “In Ruin and Misery” moves toward atmospheric doom, “Myosotis” is an example of classic funeral doom metal, “I” reaches our beyond borders of doom and into post-metal and the result is a fair mix of both and “Shallow Pools of Grief” brings down the curtain with a doom-death sound mixed in a bag with atmospheric black metal. And me being a sucker for anything atmospheric, have this track as a definitive highlight of this album. This implementation and permeation of atmospherics is the thread of cohesiveness throughout this album. On the negative side we have the vocals which are surely adequate, both in diversity and delivery, but not top-notch. Overall, considering the fact that the band has self-released this album, I have to stick two thumbs up to this splendid doom triumph.
- Artist: Gospel of Death
- Album: We Are Only Here to Suffer
- Genre: Funeral Doom Metal – Atmospheric Doom Metal
- Release Date: January 15th, 2020
- Country: Canada
- Highlights: The Grand Misery – Lost in Infinite Realms – Blackness and Silence
- Rating: 9.0
Verdict: When I first started spinning this record, I was just looking for some random music in the background while I was working, some sort of filler, one might say. But boy I was damn wrong! This album deserved every iota of your attention. We Are Only Here to Suffer is the only album (long play or otherwise) by the Canadian one-man band, Gospel of Death. It borders funeral doom and atmospheric doom with a strong taste of neo-folk. And that is precisely what I admire on this album. It offers a richer experience that the run-of-the-mill doom works. On Lost in Infinite Realms, for example, the neo-folk supplements the overall mood of the song. Similarly, the atmospherics on the title track is more than most doom albums have to offer. Second to the general ambience of the album is musicianship. We have standard distorted doom guitars and slow-paced drum-work.
The lyrical theme of the entire album is, as one might expect, death and departure; while they are good enough, they are not striking. The artwork is bleak and bland and has an eerie quality, which is quite genre-appropriate.
- Artist: Loviatar
- Album: Lightless
- Genre: Doom Metal
- Release Date: April 3rd, 2020
- Country: Canada
- Highlights: Silica – Cave In – Lightless
- Rating: 8.0
Verdict: A decade into their career and after a three-year interval Loviatar have released their sophomore album, Lightless. Hailing from Ottawa, Loviatar is a four-piece doom squad which are well-aware of the rules of the game.
Lightless is a doom album and on the borders of stoner filled with quality musicianship, strong vocals and enough dynamism (yeah, I know, that word could be far-fetched when it comes to doom and stoner!) to have you keep it spinning for the whole duration of the album without tiring you. All the Witches You Failed to Burn breaks the progression of the album, Cave In, Lightless and Silica offer guitar solos (something not quite frequently found in doom), and even though the 10:25 piece, Lightless, comes last, one would be quite sharp and perceptive of the song.
Above all, however, are the lyrics. They are some literary pieces of quality rhyme and meter. The title track is an instance of such technique. Motifs of death and demise abound, but it is the art of words that makes this record a truly memorable one. In particular, Horse in Thrall makes one wonder about the condition of matters and Suffocating Delirium makes one reflect upon life.