Sunday, June 23, 2013

excellence and elegance in doom: Graveyard of Souls (Spain): "Shadows of Life"

excellence and elegance in doom: Graveyard of Souls (Spain): "Shadows of Life"
Masterful, excellent, and outstanding.
First of all, this is very, very highly recommended for those that really enjoy doom metal.
Second, even those who are "not into doom" --because they think that doom is "too slow" or "boring," or they don't like what they perceive a retro-70s and stoner tendency-- will in all likelihood be very pleasantly surprised to find that Graveyard of Souls is actually something different from the stereotypes about doom.
Graveyard of Souls is so good that they transcend their genre, and that's something special. When a band writes songs that go beyond the small corner of genres, when the songs have such quality that categories make no sense, then that's when a band truly stands out above the limits, and can connect with different audiences, whether that is doom or black or death or heavy or gothic metal, or more.
Here is a poor attempt to describe what they sound like: The vocals are growled. But wait a minute! It is elegant growling!! What's elegant growling? That's growling that fits the music perfectly, it is growling that is mixed correctly in the sound, that is produced appropriately, that is a balance between heaviness and melancholy, smooth and massive. Most growling is aggressive and mean, trying to chew off the listener's ear or whatnot, but Graveyard of Souls is concerned with taking the listener's senses to a place beyond shallow delectation, and wants the listener to embark upon a journey to a wonderland. A journey where? A journey to your own imagination!
The music is uptempo/midtempo in a doom way, not slow. It is bouncy music. Vibing. With atmosphere; melancholic, melodic, an enchanted heaviness.
Graveyard of Souls is not satisfied with simply having heavy riffs, which they do have. There is a sense that they have worked extremely hard at adding hooks and melancholy above the heavy riffs. In reality, they have done that for all the songs, so that there are hooks, licks, solos, and melodies everywhere.
That's the art of working and re-working a song until it stands on its own, distinct from the others. Of course, it sounds like the same band, and the songs all sound like part of an overall framework, but the point is this: that it is not monotonous or repetitive.
That's how it seems to me, anyway.
Of course, people into classic Candlemass, early Katatonia, "Gothic"-era Paradise Lost, Slumber's album "Fallout," or more recently, Daylight Dies and October Tide should find an abundance of fun in Graveyard of Souls.
I think all relatively open-minded listeners, who are not anti-doom, who do enjoy some atmospheric, melancholic and melodic uptempo metal should also check it out, on account of the strong songwriting.
At this moment, due to my present temporary location, I cannot access much information about Graveyard of Souls. Did two people play on the album or is it all by one person? Is this a band or studio project? Is that a real drummer or drum programming? Are there other people involved? I cannot say right now. I'm just telling you about the music, and I'll leave it at that for now.

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