'Not A Gleam of Hope'

(Marche Funebre Productions)

MARK: 93/100

A spin-off of Stygian Crypt proposes the debut-CD of a band that won't probably say much to those outside Russia. It consists of 4 songs for over 69 minutes, meaning it cannot be anything else but a Doom metal record. The digipack and the artwork are minimal, all in black or grey, consistent with the condition of a comatose and of a person vigilling them.

The opener "Suicide Grotesque" attacks our ear drums with its funeral Doom, based on horrorific vocals and a few Skepticism-like parts, in which not only the sounds of guitar and drums but also the vocals remind of the Finnish geniuses. The song can yet surprise the listener with a sudden disquieting break not too distant from the Twin Peaks soundtrack, where bass and guitar stretch out with an excellent arpeggio before the coming back of the downtuned guitars, crushing as ever. A mention must also go to the keyboards, so ghostly and foggy with a view to stressing out the feeling of oppressive burden on life. Wonderful the lyrics, descrbing the phases of a suicide induced by desperation and the discovery that behind religious lies there is nothing after death.
Similarly to Dante's "Divine Comedy", "Cataracts" forces us to walk downwards towards the centre of a frozen hell; for a short while the rhythms and the sounds bring our memory back to the early Carcass's atmospheres, but very quickly we get back to territories more classic for Comatose Vigil. This time the vocals are in line with what sung by Autopsy's Chris Reifert; followers of Lucio Fulci, Bava, early Dario Argento and other masters of horror and thriller of the 70s and 80s are going to appreciate this track very much.
The keyboardist turns morbid and wicked and can hurt even more than the guitar, but she can also be glacial, majestic and grim at the same time, aware that the artistic apex of the lyrics is reached here, in particular in this passage: "...the fear of madness, devouring from inside, eclipsing the light, so many years of pain, my punishment is not over yet, they will never forgive, they will never forget, so fill my veins with poison..."
A slow axe solo opens "Mirrors of Despair" and this is already a signal of why it conquers the palm of most original composition of the EP. The words depict a couple's solitude looking at a future not promising anything good and a mysterious past they ignore the origins of. Here comes mundane sadness, a variant of cimiterial sadness, neverthless the 3-piece do not renounce of a frightnening touch by some demonized vocal lines connecting this song to the previous one; the difference here resides in the prevalence of mid-tempos on the slow beats, relegated to the central part. Remarkable the guitar fades as well, onirical brush strokes alike; they act as links to the instrumental "Galleries of Coma", where the guitar creates a holeless wall which does not let a single gleam in; and when the wall ends, it is the sun that is missing. The soundscape clearly represents the journey that a comatose has to face alone in a metaphorical manner.

The Moscow band stands out as a revelation in the Doom landscape. If you're living a torrid summer and your fan or air conditioner is broken start this CD: a gigantic steel layer of ice will fall onto your heads, decreasing the surrounding temperature of 40° C in a second. After all, if we all have to die, let's at least choose our favourite means to, shall we?


Line-up on this record:
Keyboard Depressant, keyboards/b.
Vragomor, v./d.
Alexander g.

122151, P.o. Box 63 (for A. Kurdyakov), Moscow - Russia
Official sites:

Rehearsal I (demo - 2003)
Not A Gleam of Hope (CD - 2005)
Narcosis (MCD - 2006)