Review Summary: Monolithic in nature, but DOOM:VS fails to completely transcend the genre.
This one piece melodic funeral doom group are not going to break any records, nor is the wheel getting a complete makeover; rather the edges are getting refined into a more circular shape and the axles are getting re-oiled. Enter DOOM:VS’ Dead Words Speak
with its long chord structures, deep growls and interesting contrast creating clean vocal passages as well as all the other stigmas of the genre (long-ish track lengths and at times minimal piano or guitar tones) and whilst the band name might sound just like a once popular video game title DOOM:VS rely on nothing of the games overall context. Dead Words Speak
is melodious and captivating enough for the casual listener yet solid enough for the genre’s hardcore enthusiasts.
Now Johan Ericson from Draconian may just allow for some comparison to be given, and for the most part those comparing would be little off the mark. However (and thankfully enough) there are a few distinguishable features from between the two – even if it’s a little subtle sometimes. This multi-instrumentalist shows that he can indeed put together a solid record paying homage to an already staple sound. In fact the wheel is a fitting metaphor for Dead Words Speak
. There’s no need to refit it with something that may not work, but in polishing DOOM:VS’ sound the already done before soundscape sounds relatively fresh. As for the music itself it borders on a few different moods; its atmosphere draws on anger, despair, and a sense of brooding created by guitar chords matched simultaneously by symphonic elements building into a climax before the pressure is let off, leading back into melancholy filled sections backed by ambience before the listener is launched back into a tumult of distorted passages and driving guitar work. One accessible example of this comes through in ‘Upon the Cataract’ where at eight minutes each component works together and even brings the album together.
Dead Words Speak
is an opus on its own terms. It may not have the same ritualistic and oppressively minimalistic feel as Until Death Overtakes Me nor, does it have the same values of most of Paradise Found’s straight forward approach to doom metal. Rather DOOM:VS is on par with Ericson’s other group Draconian. This six track affair coming in at a respectable fifty minutes makes for an extremely solid listen. It’s easier to take this album for what it is rather than an attempt at something revolutionary (because it’s easy to see that this falls short of making that impression). Dead Words Speak
is an accessible listen for any funeral doom metal project and what it lacks in terms of breaking new ground it simply makes up in solid song writing done extremely well. At times the record borders on generic but its semi painful atmosphere allows the record to regain the listeners’ attention. Fittingly the album never outstays its welcome. In short - it’s not actually that long with most of the tracks hitting the eight minute mark and the longest track ‘Threnode’ at just over twelve minutes. DOOM:VS’ Dead Words Speak
is an enjoyable listen throughout and should be a welcome addition for fans of the doom metal genre.