Review Summary: Rock solid doom.
Doom can be boring. Let's get this out of the way now; unless you're either a stoner or a depressed *** with low energy levels, doom should be way too slow for you. Doom metal is music about that one train journey where the train breaks down in the middle of Kyrgyzstan or similar, and then you get robbed by bandit Muslims, your wife and children are taken hostage, you've lost your money because you gambled it while drinking, and to top it off, someone threatens to amputate your nutsack with a blunt knife because you insulted his prophet. And unless you've actually been there, how could you relate to this music? Not everyone has such ***ty experiences. Not for everyone, there is this one void of silence in their life; no rest for the troubled mind. And that's what the music sounds like atmospherically, in a nutshell. If you're a cheery soul, look away now. Everyone else, read on.
Void of Silence is a pretty doomy band from Italy (wasn't that the country that gave us Rhapsody of Fire? Eh?), with an Irish guy called A.A. Nemtheanga doing the vocals for them (you may recognise him as the singer for Primordial). This is music for that train journey. Probably it's also about being raped by priests (the album contains samples of people reciting things in Italian, and they sound suspiciously like Catholic church recitals). It wouldn't be surprising in the least if it did. That's the kind of music they play. For musical purism, I will now namedrop a few bands that seem to be some sort of an influence: old My Dying Bride, Neurosis, a hint of the slower bits of Primordial (mainly because of the vocals, this), Candlemass, and every other doom band you can think of. Just imagine slow, grinding riffs, with layers of moody keyboards, whispered vocals portraying anguish, yells and growls and harsh shrieks as if Nemtheanga were croaking out his very soul, all packed into a song or five (one of them is about a minute long and not worth counting. I hate these segue pieces).
The good thing is, they play this style very well. Yes, it's slow like a tortoise, but the riffs are crushing and the atmospheres they create are ungodly bleak. It's an album to immerse yourself in when completely void of will or energy. It's music to kill yourself to. And it's good enough to make the paranoid ***ers considering suicide actually do it. You see, despite the slow monotony of the album, or rather, thanks to the monotony of the album, the gloominess is effective
. It does what doom intends to do; make you unhappy. Nemtheanga's anguished yells and croaks help strengthen the whole thing, because his wailing enhances the atmosphere of bleakness; the tone of his voice induces the sorrow that this album is inherently meant to display. It's comparable to what he does on Primordial, but with slower, more enunciated lines, if that makes any sense.
But then there also is the core issue with doom. It's slow and bleak and atmospheric and yadda yadda yadda, but it is also an unhealthy fifty minutes of this drone. It's a whole album that is just dreary, with no variety. There are no sudden tempo changes. There are no Slayer-ish dun dun dun riffs. The differences exist in whether the riffs are slowly chugging or whether some simple guitar or keyboard line is leading the song onwards, meandering, going in circles, just like doom ought to do (or not, depending on who you talk to). What in any case holds for this album is that it is pretty much a monolithic slab of this tempo, making it very much a mood album; I have yet to see the one that completely turns their copy of this LP to dust (and if they did, I would be prepared to bet $10 they need some counselling). This is not for everyone, and this does not transcend the boundaries of the doom genre.
And that is really the only complaint that can be levelled at this album. It's not extraordinary. It doesn't have the crossover potential of Katatonia or the sheer classic brilliance of Candlemass. It's good within its artificially created boundaries, and it serves its purpose extremely well. And if at least consistency can be promoted within any metal genre (and this is definitely a consistent and solid record), they're doing something right; just don't put it on at a party and you'll be fine. Or well, you won't, but it'll at least not affect anyone else.
unimaginably bleak train journeys out of 10