Review Summary: Very accessible, not too exciting, but overall a decent effort.
Doom metal is rapidly growing in popularity with many new bands forming, and many others incorporating doom elements into their music. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. The advantage is that, obviously, there will be more doom for the odd doomhead like myself, but the disadvantage is that there will be a greater quantity of average to bad albums, diluting the doom talent pool, if you will. Frailty, a relatively new Latvian doom/death band, is somewhere in between the advantage and disadvantage. Lost Lifeless Lights is their debut album, and although it has several good elements and is on the whole a largely accessible and enjoyable album, it really isn’t anything you haven’t heard before.
Both the album’s biggest strength and biggest weakness lie in the vocals. To be honest, the band may have attempted to take on more than they could handle. There is semi-chanting, growls, screams, moderate to high growls, clean singing, and I think some spoken word. The best form, and probably the best thing about this album in general are the harsh vocals. The vocalist has a very good grasp of gutturals, and fluctuates frequently up and down, giving a varied and strong performance. Unfortunately, anything that isn’t harsh, in regards to the vocals, is poor. I’m unsure if it’s the same vocalist, or the guitarist (who is labeled back up vocals) who does the singing, but all the clean vocals are mediocre at best. Even when the music itself is promising, the singing ruins it by making it all sound lame. Fortunately, the clean singing is not so frequent, keeping the album from being bad itself.
As mentioned in the introduction, Lost Lifeless Lights is reasonably tame. It is not genre defining, nor does it have a sense of brilliance about it, but at the very least it has several tracks, and several moments, which are both good and attention catching. ‘Graphics in Ebony’ has what is perhaps a doom ‘breakdown’, which is quite enjoyable and really shows off the harsh vocals. The same track is also an example of how mood transitions done right can sound good. Furthermore, the next track ‘The Fall of Eve’ has a very captivating, if short, introduction. It seemed the best tracks were towards the end anyway, after what was a slow start. Nevertheless, there were only a few tracks which stuck out to me, which leads to the next point. Aside from the clean singing, the biggest downfall of the album is that most songs are based around the same formula and ideas. There are definitely some innovative moments, but for the most part, these are overshadowed by the not so innovative. It’s true that this was perhaps a result of the album’s accessibility, but in the end made it an album that I wasn’t too excited about listening to.
In conclusion, kudos to Frailty for making a good effort. It’s their debut album, and I can definitely think of a lot worse debut albums. The album’s accessibility is definitely an attraction to those who aren’t very much into doom, and could probably serve very well as an introduction to doom/death, and the genre of doom overall. Still, the album has quite a few faults, and it’s not too hard to find better doom/death. However, I’ll point out that if you aren’t a critical doom nut like I am, consider this review a 3.5.
Review is perhaps a little short, I might beef it up later on. Also, take the very last line seriously, I thought 3 was bit too critical, but 3.5 was way too much (for me). Also, cheers to Zooyorker for the rec.This Message Edited On 06.27.08
Your comments about doom becoming diluted with mediocre efforts is exactly what happened to every genre of metal we listen to nowadays.
Such a great review, and in terms of length, don't worry about it. Too many people seem to be concerned with length, and I think it is unnecessary. If it broke, don't fix it, and this certainly ain't a broke review. Well done!
Cheers taylor. I know, but look on the plus side; there's still a lot of great metal going around. Cheers for the support. I hadn't written a review (other than my Esoteric review yesterday) for months, it's good to be writing again.