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8/10 Chaim

DOOMED - Wrath Monolith - CD - Solitude Productions - 2015

Wrath Monolith is one pretentious album title, don't you think? Think of the expectations, delivering such a promise of being the epitome of wrath, a colossal monument of/to anger. Did Doomed deliver this time, like before? Did it meet the expectations? This time it's not that simple, literally.

Pierre Laube, Doomed's mastermind, has tried to be a tad more progressive and "advanced," refusing to stick to his familiar style and sound. The lead guitar, for instance, makes a longer appearance and is more pronounced, and so are the songs themselves: a myriad of aesthetics, some debuting on this album, arrangements and rhythms and structures and soundscapes, that were introduced for the first time on a Doomed album, an eclectic barrage of dark energies.

This new Doomed album is not something that hasn't been done before (by Abstract Spirit, for instance). There's a whole bunch of Russian and former-Soviet Union bands that play the same exact type of cavernous-yet-melodic doom metal. But Wrath Monolith is different: it's experimental, but not to the point of winning over the heaviness factor.

The album also introduces, for the first time, long progressive metal leads that, among other things, lend the album its progressive flair. But Make no mistake! This is after all a Doomed album, in all its glory and might. Absolutely dark and hungry, a hunter of lost souls, these tunes want to devour whatever is in their path, like a starving Leviathan.

Some odd, unorthodox choices were made when recording this album. However, they all, eventually, add up well. The vocals are done by at least three dudes, Laube included. The leads are exceptionally long and occasionally sound as if a full-blown progressive/art/avant-garde rock band is playing these tunes.

The songs are accessible, some are gorgeously beautiful and some lavishly ominous, and the whole set is melodic in essence. The melody goes hand in hand with the emotional burden and the somber atmosphere that is invested in and radiates from this unique, cold, cruel yet captivating album.

Mr. Pierre Laube has outdone himself. Thinking outside of the box of his own unique style of doom - a style he has so religiously kept intact on previous recordings and has now been transformed. While unraveling and reassembled as a new-ish entity, Doomed have both matured (in the doom metal sense of the word) and progressed. Borrowing from here and borrowing from there (but not once copycatting), blending and mixing something that sounds cold yet not lifeless, melodic yet crushingly heavy, Wrath Monolith holds uplifting melodic leads against a wall of madness and grime. You could hear the mechanical black heart of French industrial doom band P.H.O.B.O.S. pulsating here, as well as the '70s-inspired progressive and endless rock/metal leads of Opeth - all paths converge eventually and crash against Doomed's own trademark sound: a sound of a thousand dying humans who voice, synchronously, their final, death yell, before eternity takes command.

So is this album indeed a monolith of wrath? The fact is it is neither monolithic, as it is the most eclectic of the Doomed lot, nor it is particularly wrathful. It is dark however; inherently sinister and unsettling, in the sense its compositions are psychologically disturbing, like a recollection of a very bad dream you've recently had, that felt so realistic, you had awoken all shaken up, covered in cold sweat. Doomed's reign of mental terror continues right on this slab of blackness.

..."But when your pillars crumble, tell me who shall you command?" (8/10)


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