I’m not going to lie, I’ve been on a pretty solid doom binge for the last few years. As a whole it quickly became my favourite genre, bringing together so many aspects and themes that engage me as a simple listener. By now, I consider myself pretty well versed in the comings and goings of doom at every level, whether it be ambient, death, traditional or funeral. The genre as a whole stands out for me, invites me to share in the often thick atmospheres and dark imagery. Despite having listened to the genre so much, there’s always a sense of renewed grandeur with every new release, there’s always something different, something that relates to the listener. It’s the very foundations of the music that keep it so engaging, vibrant, fresh allowing the often dark tones to carry an air of mystique.
Take what you will from a genre often associated with monolithic dirges, non-existent beats and a tendency to promote drama (usually through themes such as despair, death, loss, longing… you see where this is going), ‘Earthless’ is as much of a ride as the act’s previous records, built with some solid fundamentals to achieve yet another grand opus of death inspired doom. Comparisons will rather expectantly arise when it comes to the Doom:Vs moniker. Born of Draconian fame, Johan Ericson brings a dark affair melded with smooth melodic sensibilities to release a record that unveils new aspects with each listen. At the album’s core, the music treads the line between beautiful and transcending. It’s not all mellow cleans broken by devastating growls. Doom has never been so simple. Everything crescendos, decrescendos and dances around the stereotypical cores of the music. It’s not without boundaries, but the borders of the genre never get crossed. J. Ericson knows the fundamentals (something built on years of experience) and brings out the best in every feature.
At times, ‘Earthless’ can be a ‘typical’ doom metal release. With a run time of just over fifty minutes, the album’s six tracks float between seven and ten minutes. For those not used to the usual doom dynamic, these may seem like lengthy tracks but they sit quite accessible to almost every listener of the album. It’s these shorter track times that allow the album to shine as a whole. Even the album opener (and title track) is an impressive display of the best the genre has to offer. Notes from a piano caress the softer aspects of the listeners’ minds, encouraging an emotive listen, building on the intertwining dynamics and melodic leads. The track does turn and twist bringing harsh growls and swelling compositions, if you aren’t hooked at this point, you’re already missing out. The rest of the record follows suit, bringing together a world of dark motifs, ethereal cleans and devastating heaviness. It’s weird that words alone do not describe an accurate representation of ‘Earthless’ by themselves. These words take more meaning once you’ve heard the record in its entirety.
If you’re anything like me, this is more than a welcome continuation of Doom:Vs’ previous album, ‘Dead Worlds Speak’. It becomes an addiction enabled by the best in the industry. It seems a whole lot of doom will fill my end of year list, even if we’re not even half way through the year. ‘Earthless’ is certainly worthy of the accolades it’s receiving (and those to come) and will see itself played often for years to come.
2.A QUIETLY FORMING COLLAPSE
4.THE DEAD SWAN OF THE WOODS
5.OCEANS OF DESPAIR
6.THE SLOW ASCENT