Review Summary: Slumber create a melodic, symphonic, death, and doom atmosphere within an album that works.
Melodic doom metal is a subgenre of metal that is often used to tag and describe music from bands such as Rapture, arly Katatonia, Daylight Dies, and Swallow The Sun. As they have proven time after time, these bands do a good job of incorporating melodic elements into their doom-based music, while seamlessly being able to keep the emotionally, depressing undertones that typically come with the sound of the genre intact. That being said, bands attempting to play this style of music run the high risk of losing the desired emotional response from the listener if some of the melodic elements are too frequent, gimmicky, or to be quite frank, cheesy in nature.
Slumber is a relatively unknown band from Sweden that plays this aforementioned style of music. The band was first started in 2002 and quickly recorded, and subsequently released, two demos. For their first studio album in 2004, the band wrote a new song titled “Fallout” and re-recorded six songs that were taken from their demos for inclusion on this record. The resulting album features songs that flow seamlessly from one to another, despite the fact that the songs were originally written and released at different intervals within the band’s career.
In addition to the band’s mid-paced melodic doom elements, Slumber incorporates a symphonic sound within certain sections in the songs on Fallout
as well. Pianos, strings, and female choir vocals can all be found on the tracks, and fortunately, never become too cumbersome or prevalent in the mix as to disrupt the flow of the other instruments or the underlying, emotional aspect of the music. Generally catchy, albeit simple guitar leads can be found throughout the album that plays to the melodic aspect of the music, quickly bringing a Gothenburg sound to mind. Lead vocalist Siavosh Bigonah utilizes impressive death growls that are implemented to emphasize depressing lyrics that accentuate the mood for a pleasing, empathic listening experience. Also worth noting, Slumber possesses the rare quality of being able to keep the technicality of their compositions relatively simple, while seamlessly giving the impression of a dense product.
The best moments to be found on Fallout
are those that feature the lead vocalist interacting with the choir element of their symphonic sound. Opening cut “Rapture” features a stunning and unexpected inclusion of the backing vocals at the climatic ending of the song that causes the music to soar and reach new heights for the listener in an unexpected way. ”Conflict” immediately follows and also features an impressive interplay between the vocalists and instruments during the song’s chorus line--a moment which is sure to become one of the album’s defining peskd. While enjoyable, this interplay of styles isn’t too prevalent on the album, possibly as too much of a symphonic element could have caused a drop in the essential doom characteristics that make doom metal what it truly is.
Slumber keeps the majority of the music to be found here mid-paced, never letting the mood brood or simmer for too long. This may be a turn off to the tradition fans of doom metal, as while impatient listeners won’t have to suffer from a slow, trudging progression, some of the build-up loved by others is nearly lost completely when the music increases in tempo. Also, while the songs generally flow competently as a whole, the album does suffer some inconsistencies in song structure, if not in the area of timbre. Generally speaking, the front end of the album tends to be much more melodic and symphonic then that of the latter half, which features a slightly slower pace and less of a choir inclusion within the songs. This doesn’t really go a long to help the band as it shows that technically, this is all recycled material.
In summary, Slumber essentially overcomes the risks involved in making melodic doom metal, and as a result, create a promising debut album in the process. Fallout
doesn’t lose all of its emotion in transition from the tradition doom styles to its symphonic and melodic elements in the music, which in turn, this could mean that the band have stumbled upon a relatively new and rewarding mixture of sounds and textures for listeners to experience. Be sure to check out Slumber’s Fallout
if you are a fan of early Katatonia, Daylight Dies, Paradise Lost, or Swallow the Sun.