“ Artist: Asunder / Genre: Hard Rock & Metal „
I don't give five stars easily, but Asunder's debut is by far the most definitive doom metal release of its type that I've ever heard. Consisting of three long, funereally slow and varied songs clocking in between twelve and fifteen minutes in length, this isn't an album for casual listeners, but it goes the extra distance to really satisfy patient fans who embark on the journey. I had preconceptions that this would be yet another sequence of monotonous dirges in the funeral doom style of bands like Thergothon and Esotetic, but was fortunately much mistaken; this is just as varied in mood and style as any other metal album, and in this instance, long doesn't automatically mean tedious, repetitive and suicidal.
Asunder seems to take its influence from the greatest doom successes of the previous decade, most evident in the contrast between the more harmonious and melancholic My Dying Bride inspired passages most present in 'Twilight Amaranthine' and the heavier, groove-laden riffs of the other two songs, and the sound is satisfyingly heavy and melodic in equal measure. The cello work of Alex Bale-Glickman adds to the band's distinctive sound, even if this distinctiveness does cross over into My Dying Bride territory at times, and although there are a few inevitable moments in-between major movements where nothing much is happening except for sustained guitar fuzz and slow drumming, each song evolves in a fluid and logical way towards its conclusion - the only instance where this isn't the case comes several minutes into the title track, where the style shifts considerably. This is the most diverse song of the lot, but for all its technical prowess it loses some of the conflicting emotions and beauty of its predecessors.
The tone here is dark, but not sinister, and the vocals are both growled and sung like a chant, the lyrics being a nice mix of traditional doom metal poetry and non sequitur statements designed to sound nice through the slow delivery. The three songs are surprisingly distinctive even after a single listen, and perhaps the album's greatest triumph is that it keeps the listener's attention throughout, a rare feat in a genre usually aimed more towards meditative despair that reasonably expects the listener to have taken their own life before the tedium would present a problem.
1. Twilight Amaranthine
2. Crown of Eyes
3. A Clarion Call