Matte Brand is a genius! Fanatics of old Doom, be warned! This brand-new CD from the Swiss act seems recorded between the 70's and the 80's,due to the influences of early Black Sabbath, Count Raven, Saint Vitus, Candlemass, Witchfinder General and the likes, and there is also a tribute to Paradise Lost.
You know that Modern doom is slower and more morbid and mainly comes from Finland; here we are talking about British tradition, magical, timeless music, able to throw you back to the foggy landscapes of the countryside of the UK and most of all at the apex of the Inquisition, where Sabbath and Pagan rites were practised galore.
Yes, there is plenty of searing, doom, ruin, judgement, sadness and cemetarial elements from the keyboards, but also desperation and feelings of soul-losing coming from the flutes, maybe a bit Eastern-flavoured and present when the guitars are missing, for example in "Renovatio" or in "Deadlove", the only track with growls instead of the common declamatory singing, and the one where the peak of pathos is achieved.
Sure you can say some has already done this, but did the predecessors interpret the lesson so divinely, could they boast so much care for the details, were their vocals as otherworldly as Matt's and Jan's? I strongly doubt about it.
Some Metal newbies may find Epic doom a tad hostile to their ears, but the solution is the proposal of listening to "Doomstone", easy to memorize (but not catchy, mind it!), while the most elegant and spoiled palates will be pleased by the hyper-solemn "He Theos Erchestai"; just shake your heads as if they had hanged you and raise your right fists to the sky!
13 songs for almost 78 minutes could be tough to assimilate and that's time for the Center European artists to recur to their experience and pick up from their superior brains the best possible song order; and here comes a composition like "In the Shade", paying a costly duty to the Dark/Prog leaders of the seventies; stupendous arpeggios and theatrical vocals prelude to an interlude in which a fat and dirty rhythmic section puts the bases for guitar sounds closer to the Iron Maiden's debut CD before the heavy, leaden and crushing guitar sounds come back beheading us slowly, as though every guitar strumming were an invisible scythe stroke.
And what can we say about "Beneath beyond"? This is not a song, this is a lullaby to a dying child or perhaps a way to prepare our souls to leave our shells, our bodies, our padding before we die or when we suffer and are tortured beyond imagination and this appears to be the sole manner to survive. Anyway, a deeply spiritual song.
"Dream A Dream", I confess it, is my favourite track, so it's hard to be unbiassed about its exegesis; twisted and original in the final part, and initially gifted with simple yet effective drumming. Defintely the ideal song as to atmosphere and kick-drum pattern for a gravedigger busy nailing coffins.
Even a child from an isolated regime knows that everything is perfect, timely and classy in the land of emmenthaler cheese and cuckoo clocks, and even a short track such as the instrumental intermezzo "De Rerum Sanctarum Una" is the confirmation, being fully functional since it was not randomly placed before "Psych-Icon"; a veil of hope and sun to face another superb representation of Doom, with whispered backing vocals being the icy on the cake. It's really surprising what a good job was done during the recording and the mixing, as to the liquid guitars in this song but more generally speaking if we pay attention that the band's fix members are only two and the drummers used on this same record were 6 but it always seems the same drummer! Take it as a compliment, because it means that the duo's goal was to uniform and make homogenous six performances that otherwise would have sounded like a far less satisfactory cameo of session men.
Boulders collapsing on your sorry neckbones, this is the image Pylon wished to depict with the riffs of "Hors des sentiers battus", upheld by stoned bass lines, fading more and more slowly. Life is a continuous change and approach to death, aka corporeal termination, so an imperceptible decay of our bodies after we go over the major age and still this is nothing if compared to the psychedelic and mind-blowing "Age of Despair".
Yes, Doom is the music of decay, loss, sorrow, ennui, depression, suicide, desperation, separation, irreversibility of physical and psychological conditions, but just when you thought things couldn't get any worse, the Swiss masters create a song able to make you shit your pants; don't be deceived, "An Angel Tale" directly comes from hell and the only angel who brought inspiration is the one who preferred to reign than serve...
As said above, "Deadlove", initially vaguely reminescent of Nile, is less scary then the previous song but it is so sulphureos that if Dante were alive he'd certainly be banging his fucking head now and would choose this as a soundtrack to his "Inferno". Difficult to render the vocals more wicked and ceremonial, this is a Satanic mass, a Sabbath, a diabolical ring where you are never supposed to return. You are done for eternity and the tears and the moaning of "The Void Thereafter" shall be of no use to you. You will be mauled, battered, charred, chopped, skinned, defaced, suffocated, mangled, gouged, ground, crushed, ripped, pierced, castrated, plagued, pronged, multiply flogged, all of your bones will be fractured; on other occasions you will be crucified head upside down, lobotomized, colostomized, force-fed till puking, melted into acid, your heart will be eaten and disgorged, you will be defecated on, your intestines will get swollen to burst, you won't see your families anymore, you will be quartered, dismembered, eviscerated, hanged, mutilated, razored, electrocuted, sodomized, deafened, incinerated by atom bomb explosions, and force to any kind of torture until you die and then everything will start again and again, for all eternity.
Compared with the evil emerging from this nightmarish record, what you saw in the movies "Saw" or "Hostel" will look like boyscouts' frolics. This is "Doom", a record from hell, yet gifted with a special beauty and pompousness. Many ignore that between the 16th and the 17th century it was in fashion to visit cemetaries owing to their monumental value and depiction of a culture by the way they were kept, assembled and decorated, while nowadays, besides Paris's they are not a mass destination any longer; anyway, the moral is better few worthy people than a trendy mass, and Pylon inopinably belong to the former category. It would be euphemistical to define them simply musicians, for we have artists with noble ideas turned to timeless music, a music able to fascinate even in 60 years. And certainly in the Middle Ages they would also have found estimeers like Bosch or other north-European avantagarde visionaries, but they can be lucky to be born today and avoid being condemned to the stake! A the same time I am sure Vincent Price and Lucio Fulci are putting up their rotten thumbs full of worms as an ode to the combo's third full-length. That's why we have allotted the maximum mark. Just play this CD and bam! You won't be able to bring up any matter.
Aulic and old English, long smooth compositions (except the interludes and the outro), glorious artwork with embossed digipack in order to incentivate the purchase those who are not collectors like me and download all the time, pitchy and catacombal production, there is nothing wrong in this product and everything that a dark music lover might desire.
Do not offend their intelligence, this ain't a mere CD, but a jewel!
MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - 20th March 2009