Review Summary: A poor attempt at the epic death/doom genre. It pretty much does everything wrong.
As you can see, my foray into the depths of doom metal continues with this review, but unlike my previous reviews I’ve not enjoyed writing this one. This is due to me not enjoying this album, and having to listen to it while I’m writing. Every so often you’ll come across a band which just sits you on your arse, and really amazes you. So you obviously hunger for more of the same, and go looking for similar bands and artists. You then find an album which looks cool, start listening, and simply do not like it. Tides of Awakening is one such album. Tyranny is a Death/Doom band from Finland, and is part of an underground emergence of incredibly brutal but slow doom metal. In order to show why I did not like this album, I will be comparing it to the German/French extreme doom band Worship (the band that sat me on my arse).
First off, this album really pushes the limits of your attention. I admit, Last CD Before Doomsday by Worship did have quite lengthy songs, but still managed to hold my interest. Tides of Awakening did not. I’ll point out the track lengths so you can get an idea of what I’m talking about.
Coalescent Of The Inhumane Awareness: 14:30
Sonorous Howl From Beyond The Stars: 11:42
Upon The War-Torn Shape Of Cold Earth: 17:15
In The Arcane Clasp Of Unwritten Hours: 15:27
Entraties To Primaeval Chaos: 7:44 (this isn’t even a song, it’s an outro)
Now, to direct my criticism into something most metalheads will understand, I’ll refer to Morningrise by Opeth. That album only had 5 very lengthy songs, yet it still managed to maintain my interest throughout its 60+ minute length. The same with Worship’s Last Cd Before Doomsday. This is because the albums, especially Morningrise, had at least some sort of variation in the songs. Tides of Awakening does not. Each song sounds the same at the end as it does at the beginning. Not only that, it’s almost impossible to distinguish between the songs because they all sound so similar.
So yes, the songs all sound the same. But what do they sound like? I will tell you right away that the crunchy guitars that doom metal is so fond of are not here. That’s one reason why I enjoyed Last CD Before Doomsday; the guitars sounded somewhat heavy, and they were punctuated with Max Varnier’s incredible vocals. The guitars on Tides of Awakening don’t have that mind-blowing thud to them, they just blur in with the atmospheric and synthesized noises that are behind every track, and the vocals are the final ingredient in this repetitive and monotonous mixture. The one thing I enjoyed was the track ‘Coalescent Of The Inhumane Awareness’ had an eerie guitar playing over everything else that sounded reasonably good. There wasn’t anything else that stuck out to me in the album.
Now, I’m not trying to say that the vocalist is actually bad. He has a very deep growl, and I’m sure would sound good if the music behind him didn’t suck so badly. However, there are no variations in the tone of his growl, and there just isn’t any emotion in it at all. Come to think of it, there wasn’t any emotion in the entire album; it’s just a lifeless and overblown attempt at doom metal. In contrast, Max Varnier’s vocals, although being for the most part very deep, did have some variations, and there were different spoken sections and changes in the songs. He also managed to convey a really strong sense of despair with his tortured voice. Tyranny seem to miss the whole point of doom metal with Tides of Awakening, as they’ve overlooked the aim of being sorrowful and emotive. Another important factor which makes Last CD Before Doomsday a better album than this is that there was a definite attempt to separate the vocals from the music, so you could listen to each of them distinctly, rather than having it all blur into a single, layered mess.
And to finish, I’ll talk about the final song, ‘Entraties To Primaeval Chaos’. Not that it’s a song; it’s an ‘atmospheric’ outro. In other words, it’s a waste of almost 8 minutes of your life. Whilst trying to sound epic, Tyranny have made an incredibly long outro of the sounds of a storm, and the sounds of what I think to be water crashing onto rocks/ship/beach, I really don’t know. There also is someone groaning and growling with the wind, which did sound pretty cool. On the first listen, the outro sounds reasonable, but being almost 8 minutes long, and not even being a real song, it’s a waste of time after the first listen.
Overall, a poor album. I didn’t enjoy it one bit, and hopefully I’ve made clear the reasons why. If you want a good death/doom album, I’d definitely recommend Worship’s Last CD Before Doomsday over this.