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The Slow Death : II : Metal albums reviews

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The Slow Death : II, brief review


The Slow Death : II

Band name: The Slow Death

This album tells the story of the last people on Earth following a cataclysmic event, and excels at creating moods of isolation and sorrow. (Mandy's excellent artwork also provides a great visualisation of the colours and landscapes evoked in this concept.)

Despite the presence of a female band member providing vocals and keyboards, this is firmly guitar-based funeral doom/death metal, with the keyboards mostly used to create unsettling background ambiences and atmospheric intros/outros. Stuart's clean leads throughout the album are beautifully mournful and "Empty Places" and "Reflections in Shattered Glass" show that he is just as proficient with galloping death metal riffs as with drudging doom.

The vocals are also top-notch. Gregg Williamson's growls are about as deep and ominous as possible before becoming comical, blending perfectly with the depressive guitar tones. Unlike the debut, where Mandy sang with a typical ethereal and angelic voice, her performance here consists of mid-range singing devoid of operatic influence, more similar to the style used in Murkrat. The change in her vocal style is a definite positive. It sounds a lot more natural for her and most definitely suits the music and theme of the album a lot better than a faux-operatic style would. Her performance on "To Your Fate" is particularly noteworthy.

The standout tracks for me would have to be the first two. "The Long March" is a 24-minute monster of a track, opening with a sinister piano melody, but full instrumentation quickly follows. The hypnotic instrumental passages feauting distorted riffs and clean melodic leads really do feel like an endless march through unknown landscapes. This song is the most representative of the band's style and a crowning achievement for them thus far. "Empty Places" picks up the pace, building up from a typical doom metal opening to some galloping death metal that goes through several riffs. Unlike funeral doom bands like Ea that will inject a faster section into their music lasting only a few short minutes, this song is basically doom-tinged death metal the whole way, showing that the band are just as capable with extended fast passages. The next three tracks all follow similar formulas as the first two, mixing drudging doom with pummeling death in a wonderfully cohesive sound that holds the album together without ever becoming boring or repetitive.

With a split release and a new album due in 2014, The Slow Death are certainly a band to watch for fans of the genre and deserving of a lot more attention. They set an incredibly high standard with II, but if they can manage to maintain or top it then the third album will easily be one of 2014's doom metal masterpieces as II is for 2012.



Album: II, review

The bands country origin: Australia

Metal albums reviews




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