Review Summary: Doom’s very best.
Every now and then an album comes along that revitalizes a genre; this is, for certain genres, a necessity. It doesn’t comes as a surprise that doom metal is easily stagnant, and other than the few consistent bands the genre can be proud of, it’s heavily weighed down by mediocrity and simply terrible bands. In this regard, an album like Sol’s Let There Be A Massacre
comes as a breath of fresh air. The solo project of one Emil Sol Brahe, Let There Be A Massacre
perfectly exemplifies every foundation of doom. It is despairing, misanthropic, and truly reflects its subject matter, that of human filth, decay, and suffering. Additionally, Let There Be A Massacre’s
composition is somewhat of an anomaly; although mostly wallowing in slow, depressing tempos, Sol is persistent in his task of making a doom album that keeps your attention for the album’s entirety. Combining various interesting musical techniques, a penchant for despondent guitar lines, and a grounding in brutality, Let There Be A Massacre
is an example of the best the doom genre has to offer.
Akin to funeral doom band Worship, Sol’s gloom is made up mostly by meandering and heart-wrenching guitar leads, played over vast and saturating riffs. However, the beauty of Let There Be A Massacre
lies in its experimental nature, utilizing unusual methods which make the album markedly appealing. ‘Boginki’ begins with an up-tempo drum solo, naturally working its way into a strikingly disturbing riff, further supplemented by Sol’s distorted wails. As the album’s longest track, ‘Boginki’ epitomizes Sol’s unique sound. Its transitions from tremendous, to depressing, to fu
cking heavy are smooth and cohesive, and Sol shows us how an accordion, normally a cheery instrument, can be used to add an extra layer of misery to what is already an incredibly potent album. The unusual instrumental arrangements come to a further light in the closing track ‘Apocalypse’, which is an instrumental track based solely around an accordion, a banjo, and a clarinet. You’re forgiven for thinking that any of these instruments, let alone their union, could create anything remotely desolate, but you can be sure that Sol will alter your perspective on this.
As a death/doom album, Let There Be A Massacre
removes itself from the sub-genre by completely avoiding any of the typical traits commonly found amongst its bands. Sol’s basis in a particular genre is actually rather hard to determine; there is no death metal foundation in the vein of Ataraxie or Decomposed, there are no gothic elements as can be found in My Dying Bride or Katatonia, and Sol hardly even dips his toe into what one would consider funeral doom. In actual fact, Sol’s brand of death/doom is remarkably distinctive, and this is what makes Let There Be A Massacre
such a success. It does not rely on any previous conventions of the doom genre, and creates its own firm foothold high above any of the more recent doom bands to have emerged.
Lyrically, Let There Be A Massacre
is an exploration of the contempt Sol has for humankind, and human civilization. A quick glance at the song titles makes this a rather obvious fact, but it’s important to note how such contempt is portrayed by the music. Whether it is through bleak and ponderous guitar work, or simply a viciously slow face crunching, Sol does not miss a beat. ‘The Inanity of Man’ is a prime example of how pervasively effective Sol’s musical approach can be; its slow moving rhythm is so austere and depressing that one can’t help but share Sol’s disdain. Furthermore, little touches like the acoustic passage at the end of the track really give the album a sense of character.
On the subject of character, as the sole influence behind Sol’s music, Brahe injects endless personality into the album, largely defining its concept and giving it a specific direction, a specific purpose. Asides from composing and playing every single part of the album, his vocal work is nothing short of exemplary; mid ranged gutturals that, while not being the best you will hear in a technical regard, exude a similar scorn as that of the music. Moreover, his voice is constantly in variation, very much in line with the album’s mood. ‘Centuries of Human Filth’, just to pick one from the rest, wonderfully shows how Brahe’s vehement derision comes to life with his voice; decipherable gutturals that remain very palatable, and vary up and down depending on the bearing of the mood. His lows are earth shaking, and his highs instill such feelings of torment that you too will feel like massacring the entire world. Adding further praise to his vocal work, Sol’s distorted wails on ‘Boginki’ greatly need mention. Being a rather suitable complement to the militaristic style drumming found at the beginning, as well as the tasteful accordion, his wails do nothing but unite the various elements found in that part of the song into a single thrust of anguish.
Ultimately, that is why Sol’s Let There Be A Massacre
is such a good doom album. It takes the various simple elements found on the record, and bonds them in such a way as to create something truly unique. Sol’s grasp of depressing music is boundless, and so genuine that not a single musical choice he makes regarding Let There Be A Massacre
comes off as mediocre or conforming. Without a doubt, this is an album that demolishes the doom genre, and will demolish you. Highly recommended.