Doomthousandseventeen Two: Lone Madmen and Crimson Swans

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On this episode: Karhu dances on a trapeze set between the two polar opposite poles of the doom-spectrum. Will the riff prevail or will he fall into his (death/)doom? Tune in for the next, exciting episode of Doomthousandseventeen!

THE LONE MADMAN – DREARY TASK

Independent | 2016

The Lone Madman is a trad. doom band from Helsinkiville. To my rather great shame, I did not find them on my own, but required the assistance of Verminerd John Brooks. What really made this a shame was his apt comparison of their lone EP, —, to one of my all-time favourites, Reverend Bizarre. After a short intro, Dreary Task kicks into gear with everything you could ask of a doom band – heavy, dark riffs, ominous leads, headbanging rhythms and at about 1:30 into “Soul Stillborn”, those RB-esque vocals. Both, Turkka Inkilä’s voice, and his phrasing are more than a little reminiscent of Albert Witchfinder, but fortunately their more traditional, guitar-heavy riffing keeps things from becoming mere worship; the occasional doubled-vocals help colour his performance outside the lines pre-set by his voice. For the most part Juuso Raunio’s and Inkilä’s guitar work in unison, leaving much room for Veera Vallinkoski’s constantly rumbling bass, occasionally deviating from the six-stringers’ lines, adding some much desired depth to the recording.

“Invocation” begins mournfully, before delving into pure riffing filth, and the “choir” on the chorus lifts it into hymnic heights. Right before the song takes a turn into more rocking territory, both the vocals and riffs becoming so vividly RB-like, you’d think this was a demo from the Crush The Insects sessions. Finally, “Oh Death”, lyrically based on the traditional song of the same name, brings the EP to a menacing end, riffs and leads doubling each other, eventually sinking into despair and erupting into the most uptempo riff a Lone Madman could muster.

There may not be half-as-many riffs as on a half-a-tech-death-thursday article on the average, but every single one is soul-stirringly memorable. Every line hits a homerun, every beat bangs the head that doesn’t bang. Although clocking between 8 and 13 minutes, not a single song feels overwrought or too long. There’s skill in these arrangements that makes great promises for the young band’s future, and for an independent release, mixed and recorded by members of the band themselves, Dreary Task sounds professional and very good indeed, leaving room for each instrument and not drowning dynamics for the sake of LOUD. Git gud, and get on this.

Go like them on Facebook.


CRIMSON SWANUNLIT

Quality Steel Records | 2015

I first grew interested in this album because AMG would not shut up about how good it is. Before the opener, “Fade To Nothingness” had been on for a minute I knew I’d be hooked. The gentle atmosphere of the keys, the dragging whole note power chords, simplistic piano melody, deep growls and rueful and fragile, yet determined, clean vocal performance were enchanting. Even though it falls prey to chugging throughout, it’s nine and half minutes of pure nighttime-forestwalking-bliss. And it is with a heavy heart, and great grief, that I admit the following 45 minutes are not up to par.

Crimson Swan’s simplistic death/doom reminds, quite a bit, of Red Moon Architectwhom I have previously featured, using keyboards to attract texture, form plain-but-effective melodies and instill a sense of sorrow. Only their songs feature a more gothic influence, an attempt at the harrowing plays on heartstrings by the likes of My Dying Bride, than the aforementioned. Yet each song after the first becomes more dirge-y, abandoning the barrage of power chords – “A Waterfall Of Sorrow” lagging and dragging its weight through funeral doom-esque soundscapes. There are only very few hopeful moments on the album – the leads, halfway through “Words Of Perdition”, followed by quiet vocal harmonies on the title track are a cut above the rest, both in mood and quality.

On the other hand, the band has a flair for crafting rough and simple death/doom in an engaging way, but too much of the album feels like sketches of great songs yet to come into being. Their primal approach barely works, and they spend such long spans of time building tension it usually escapes before any release is achieved. And the general songwriting isn’t really strong enough to carry six long songs of the same.

At other times, I feel like Unlit is a strong-enough album despite its flaws, worthy of about 3.5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell out of the fabled 5, but at other times I feel the contrast between the good and the bad is just too big and a 1.5/5 would be more appropriate. But whatever you end up feeling regarding this record – “Fade To Nothingness” is a nine-outta-ten.

Check out the full album on Spotify and tell the band we said “Hi!” on Facebook.

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  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    THE LONE MADMAN>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    KARHU! MY BEAR!

  • Howard Dean

    That Lone Madman is some tasty stuff. Definitely getting the Reverend Bizarre comparison. Will definitely check out the rest of this EP (and maybe even snag a CD, since they are kind enough chaps to offer it)!

    I give it 4.5 Charles Whitman’s on the HD Lone Madman Scale (sorry, I haven’t made the jump to the Anders Breivik scale yet).

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f760fc2d049ff974d57f641cd0483da2e83f2d163c493a07d96d694d38c78abb.jpg

    • Óðinn

      You’re at the brain tumor induced madman phase.

  • Waynecro

    Great article, Karhu! I have difficulty getting into most doom, but I kind of like Crimson Swan.

    • Commander Shephard

      I can’t get into doom no matter how hard I try lol. I’ll stick to my Archspires and black metals and what not.

      • Howard Dean

        SPOTTED THE JACK BAUER

        • Commander Shephard

          JACK BAUER IS DEAD I SLAPPED HIM WITH A SINGULARITY. also fox started a new 24 series without him so yea

      • Waynecro

        I’m with you, man. I give whatever music the TovH hell crew posts a fair shot, but most of the doom I hear rarely gets multiple listens.

        • Commander Shephard

          I liked that messa album for a bit, belfry i think it was called, but it ended up boring me eventually. That new Aversions Crown album on the other hand, is fucking fire. I think they broke Deathcore.

  • Joaquin Stick

    Really liked some of the riff on that first TLM track, but I’m too much of a poser to really get into the trad doom style vocals. Maybe someday.

    Fade to Nothingness is indeed a good song, but getting prepped to be disappointed in the rest of the album.

  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    Excellent write up as always, great Beargod.

    • Óðinn

      Seconded.

  • GL
  • FrankWhiteKingOfNY

    Reverend Bizarre and My Dying Bride namedrops, you say? I guess that means Frank plays ball.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zl5yoFTzqA

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S76NQmm30uk

  • KyleJMcBride
    • more beer

      This make NyQuil look like fruit punch! It’s like slipping yourself a ruffie!

      • KyleJMcBride

        Replace the chloroform with ginseng root and I’m good to go.

    • Black Smallbeard

      daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn

    • Count_Breznak

      Im curious about the “number of other ingredients”.

      • KyleJMcBride

        I know. What else does it need to have?

        • Count_Breznak

          Might be just the residue of whatever was in the bottle before.Why clean when you can “skillfully combine”.