Doomed - _Wrath Monolith_
(Solitude Productions, 2015)
by: Mark Dolson (10 out of 10)
Images, sad and depressing. Vestiges of us, them and everything else. A colour-scape grim and empty as draws in and repels at the same time. An all-seeing eye embedded in a geographic-looking cloud. Coming against the limit of a green, depressive haze, a seemingly all-encompassing mass edges slowly toward Europe. It's a black entity, moving with a determined and measured pace, it's not stopping as it swallows Europe, dripping in suffocating accuracy its way into some sort of meaningless abyss. Africa is next. And beyond this, the world. As people watch, awestruck, their only recourse is either death or a catatonic stupor. As the reach of demons invade the northern shores of Scandinavia, a priest straddles a precarious line. His religion literally dissolves around him, and he knows it. Like a broken tooth, Jesus submits -- crooked, broken and used -- to a lower, irresistible power. He's caught now, like the sun he turned toward in his youth, in a moment of over-exposure. Heaven only exists in his head, and he feels the blackened edges of a counter-reality slide beneath him and draw him toward a dull pulse where only grey and white might exist -- it's all night here, brought on by a moon-rise of nothingness, absolute. No, we're not greeting salvation of any sort here; nor a place of endless rest, but a certain form of potentially comforting destruction; one orchestrated by none other than ourselves and the silhouettes we hide behind while we continue our ruin. If there's a wake that ripples behind this senselessness, it's nothing more than a monolith of wrath; a wrath monolith kept stable and endless through helplessness, pity, despair and shock. The shock that the only thing, maybe the only constant that remains in the destruction of ourselves, our environment, our cares, our dreams, our politics, our desires and their targets -- is the fury, the spleen, the outrage that we've ended ourselves before we can stop it...

The aforementioned paragraph not only best describes the music of Doomed's latest offering, _Wrath Monolith_, it also renders the beautiful cover's stark images into words, as discomforting as they are. Building on the previous three masterpieces of atmospheric doom/death, mastermind Pierre Laube, pushes his creative borders further and further away from the contours of classic doom/death à la Anathema, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, et al. After my first few listens of the album, accompanied -- of course -- by a transfixed gaze at the cover art, I realized that Laube's fourth exercise in creativity led him into far more progressive waters, the depth of which seems rather limitless in terms of sophistication, maturity and emotional captivation. This is far, far more than death/doom now -- a different affair entirely. In fact, what I will say is that Doomed, to me anyway, seems like the Enslaved of doom. Odd time signatures, interesting and almost contemplative riffs that slither hither and tither with an aim to lead you down a counter-intuitive hole. Spoken word, both clean and filtered through effects, cross over and between the comforting hypnotic effect of clean guitars. These are always held hand in hand with heavy riffs, a clean production that articulates the ferocity of sparse-blast beats and low-end growled musings of missed opportunities of repair, this all leads to a sharp and quick realization that _Wrath Monolith_ is to be grasped carefully in its immediacy. This isn't an easy listen at first, and therefore takes time to fully appreciate what's being explained to you musically.

Continuing, like the previous albums, there are a number of guest whose appearances make this album only that much more enticing. To name just two: Johan Ericson of Doom:VS and the ever-talented and versatile Ed Warby both appear on the track "Looking Back" -- a stunner of a song in all of its anxious existential displacement! Since there are really no other doom/death oriented bands able to pull off a more progressive and avant-garde interpretation of the genre, I would make sure to spend some time with Doomed's _Wrath Monolith_. In order to truly appreciate this album's creative and progressive reach, I would suggest listening to _The Ancient Path_, _In My Own Abyss_, and _Our Ruin Silhouettes_ first. Each album, although different and unique, paves a path of bitterness towards this latest monolith of depressive expression. As always, I cannot wait to see what Mr. Laube does with his next musical creation!


(article published 1/8/2015)

5/15/2014 M Dolson 9 Doomed - Our Ruin Silhouettes
7/29/2012 M Dolson 9 Doomed - The Ancient Path
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