Skepticism
Alloy


4.5
superb

Review

by rasputin USER (196 Reviews)
October 19th, 2008 | 286 replies | 19,144 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Skeptical or no, Alloy is one of the best albums of 2008.

15 of 15 thought this review was well written

While being credited as one of the pioneers of funeral doom, the release of their fourth full length Alloy simply proves that after nearly 20 years Skepticism are as solid as ever. An unchanging lineup greatly contributes to the stability surrounding the band, and each of their albums has been a furthered cultivation of their sound. Like a good bottle of wine, ageing has merely refined and matured the band; as good as they were back in 1995, they’ve consistently outdone themselves and Alloy is no exception. Richly textured and void of any repetition, the album has a profound sense of flow and finesse; the band’s attention to detail is remarkable, and every moment of the album is geared towards saturating you in atmosphere.

Beginning with ‘The Arrival’, Alloy wastes no time in completely enveloping the listener. Skepticism seem to have an unrivalled talent in creating organic and dynamic soundscapes; Alloy does not deviate far from this tried and tested formula, and even betters it in regard to the band’s previous efforts. The organ work plays a pivotal role in creating said soundscapes, and set Skepticism aside from most other funeral doom. Ignoring the fact that the majority of bands in this genre are mediocre, only a select few are able to use keyboards or organs this extensively and pull it off without coming off as lame or pretentious. However, unlike a band such as Consummatum Est, the organ lines do not overshadow everything else. The album is very noticeably balanced, with a somewhat perfectly proportionate distance between the vocals and the separate instruments. Alloy rarely digresses from this established sound, but this is not to say that it repeats itself. A plethora of variant moods and tones are evident throughout the album’s 47 minute length, and not a single one goes askew. The track ‘Antimony’ begins with an interesting organ line, somewhat allusive to a Transylvanian/Count Dracula image, and then works this organ line into the song in a subtle and articulate manner. The first half of ‘Antimony’ is a rather dark part of the album, and conceptualizes the idea of a ‘villain’ through both its heavier moments and its seemingly malevolent softer moments.

Aside from the already established darkness the album exudes, the album remains noticeably melodic. Instances of controlled chaos or dissonance are apparent, but the album revels in its surge, flowing without any absence of eloquence. Atmosphere is everything in a genre which is based around slower tempos, and whether it is from a distinctive attempt at creating a penetrating soundscape, or simply a focus on the interplay between the musical variables, actually making out the various parts of the music are essential in truly grasping their effect. Good production is not a necessity, but it needs to be done cleverly in order to fulfill the aforementioned point. In this respect, Skepticism have not only done a clever job of the production on Alloy, but it’s also one of the best produced doom albums I’ve ever heard. As already mentioned, the collusion between the organs and the guitars is done in such a way that it not only allows for both instruments to leave their mark, but unites them both in an imbuing and dense wall of sound. This gives the album even more room to diversify, allowing the two respective driving forces of the album to occasionally separate. Moments towards the beginning of ‘Pendulum’ are a good example of this, where the organs provide the melody and the guitars are nothing short of crushing.

Vocally, Alloy is just sublime. Various levels of gutturals simply meld with the album’s ambience, and whether it be a dual effect of growls and despondent shouts as seen on ‘The Curtain’, or spoken word as seen on ‘March October’, the vocals are very much in line with the tonality of the album; the vocals, like almost everything else, fit perfectly in accordance with the album’s mood and structure. Songwriting this involved is a rarity, and Skepticism have to be commended for their ability to make everything sound so natural and genuine. There are no breaks, no flaws, absolutely nothing that diminishes the grandeur of the album; Alloy is a majestic sojourn into wistfulness, appropriating a vast magnitude of emotions.

A good word that can be used to describe Alloy would be ‘colossal’. Whether it be a far reaching melody, an uplifting mood, or an overwhelmingly thick thrust of heaviness, it is safe to say that Skepticism have done absolutely everything right with this album. The pensive moments coincide in perfect assonance with the heightened tempos, the effect of the organ gives the album an unprecedented fluidity, the vocals contribute to said fluidity all while personifying the album and giving it a character, a complexion, a personality. Alloy is one of the best albums I’ve heard this year, if not ever. It shatters any preconceived notions of a ‘good’ doom album, and yet again raises the benchmark to which all doom albums, or even all metal albums, should be pushing. Highly recommended.



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Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
rasputin
October 19th 2008



14540 Comments


My #2 album of the year, so far.
If you're a fan of any sort of doom, post-rock or post-metal, this is a must hear.
The single negative thing I have to say about it is the first half of March October drags a little. Other than that, everything else is perfect.This Message Edited On 10.19.08

fireaboveicebelow
October 19th 2008



6837 Comments


I don't know why I never checked these guys out before...well here it goes

oh, good review as usual, where's your staff badge?

Willie
Moderator
October 19th 2008



15912 Comments


This is why I don't write funeral doom reviews anymore... you shame mine. You find so much to write about a genre with a very limited feature set. I'll definitely be looking into this.

Digging: Nero Di Marte - Derivae

rasputin
October 19th 2008



14540 Comments



I don't know why I never checked these guys out before...well here it goes



oh, good review as usual, where's your staff badge?

Definitely check this out man. And we're still waiting on the staff promotions, here's hoping!
You find so much to write about a genre with a very limited feature set.

True, but this album is so much more than other funeral doom.

fireaboveicebelow
October 19th 2008



6837 Comments


holy shit this is awesome

SnackaryBinx
October 19th 2008



2309 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

damn 20 years of the same members. I respect bands that can do that. You start to really get on people's nerves when you're with them after 20 years.

I'll check this out. good review mate.

Willie
Moderator
October 19th 2008



15912 Comments


I'm on last.fm right now listening to "The Arrival" and I have to agree ^^^

Edit: Damn you Snackery, now I have to quote.

I was refering to this:

holy **** this is awesome
This Message Edited On 10.19.08

fireaboveicebelow
October 19th 2008



6837 Comments


hehe this sounds like what funeral's new album wants to be

on track 2, and this is in my top 5 of the year alreadyThis Message Edited On 10.19.08

JumpTheF**kUp
October 19th 2008



2710 Comments


Really good review.

rasputin
October 19th 2008



14540 Comments


Cheers guys. 'The Arrival' is a perfect way to begin the album, it doesn't waste any time. I'm afraid that March October will put some people off, it's still a good track but feels a little bloated compared to the others. But Antimony and The Curtain make up for it, then the last two tracks are the best on the album.


on track 2, and this is in my top 5 of the year already

Wait until Pendulum and then the closer :DThis Message Edited On 10.19.08

freudianslipknot
October 19th 2008



803 Comments


Yes, great review as usual. I am totally looking forward to this album now.

SnackaryBinx
October 19th 2008



2309 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Edit: Damn you Snackery, now I have to quote.


aha! I am a good ninja.

jrowa001
October 19th 2008



8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ill be checking this out soon if its this good

Athom
Staff Reviewer
October 19th 2008



17204 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'll keep an eye out for this.

jingledeath
October 19th 2008



7104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm not really into funeral doom but this review got me interested.so I guess I will be checking this out.

charlesfishtitz
October 19th 2008



784 Comments


smashing good album and review, rasputin.


POS





SnackaryBinx
October 19th 2008



2309 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

now you make me want to check out funeral doom more rasputin, damn you!

give me some suggestions please.

and lol at fishtitz's soundoff.

BallsToTheWall
October 19th 2008



44194 Comments


Good review. It's pretty good for funeral doom but i'm not too much a fan.

Digging: My Chemical Romance - Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge

Wizard
October 19th 2008



19343 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Atmosphere is everything in a genre which is based around slower tempos, and whether it is from a distinctive attempt at creating a penetrating soundscape, or simply a focus on the interplay between the musical variables, actually making out the various parts of the music are essential in truly grasping their effect.


I remember asking you a while back if their was a specific way that I should be listening to doom metal. That was a good answer (as well as the one fireaboveicebelow gave me).

Vocally, Alloyis just sublime.


A space is needed*

Awesome review and I will be looking into this.

Digging: Mistigo Varggoth Darkestra - The Key to the Gates of the Apocalypse

fireaboveicebelow
October 19th 2008



6837 Comments


I remember asking you a while back if their was a specific way that I should be listening to doom metal. That was a good answer (as well as the one fireaboveicebelow gave me).
all I gave was a direction, what you quoted was a mindset



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