SubRosa
More Constant Than The Gods


4.3
superb

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
September 20th, 2013 | 119 replies | 21,211 views


Release Date: 09/17/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A haunting new effort from doom metal originals.

Underground metal is in dire need of more bands as creative as Salt Lake City's SubRosa. On their fourth full-length More Constant Than The Gods, this doom metal collective skillfully chisel space for themselves amid low-end amplifier worship, neo-classical chamber music and dark Americana. The skeleton of their sound is typically based on gargantuan riffs and methodical rhythm section, yet the lead guitar parts are curiously emulated by a pair of violins.

Even though this combination of instruments has been used in heavy music before, SubRosa's approach to incorporating strings into their core doom metal aesthetic is truly unique. Violinists Sarah Pendleton and Kim Pack have a penchant not only for crafting stirring melodies deeply ingrained in American rustic tradition, but also delirious trails of feedback that make the listening experience even richer. These off-kilter, experimental jazz inspired string arrangements often take the outfit to the whole new level of intensity, bringing a refreshingly unsettling quality to their music.

Another tremendous asset of SubRosa is Rebecca Vernon whose clean vocals don't comply with genre conventions either. Treading a fine line between '80s goth and '90s indie rock, she explores the record's underlying theme of empathy with aplomb. What's more, Vernon knows the value of guitar tone, putting in dense, ultra-heavy riffs whenever a song calls for them. The massive scope of More Constant Than The Gods is not only reflected in sheer volume, but also the act's inclination for expansive epics that ebb and flow, centering around wondrously crafted layers and perpetually morphing dynamics.

Opener “The Usher” is a 14-minute suite that ideally encapsulates the quintet's strengths along with burning ambition to match. The two-voice funeral balladry of the track's intro suddenly bursts into a full-on sludge assault that later collapses under the weight of discordant violins. It all leads to an absolutely astounding climax that's at once grandiose and uplifting. Following on, "Ghosts Of A Dead Empire" is imbued with destructive power due to its massive stomping groove interspersed with Eastern-sounding strings. The compositional dexterity and Vernon's assured vocals are also central attributes of “Cosey Mo,” a stunning metalgaze tune that showcases SubRosa at their most accessible.

Not every song is as powerful as these three standouts, though. While its first half is impeccably consistent, the record begins to lose steam towards the end, proving that too much ambition can have a detrimental effect at times. Finalizing the LP on a low note, “No Safe Harbor” fails to match the intensity of the previous five numbers with its mellowed-out arrangement. Even though More Constant Than The Gods could use some trimming down as a whole, the formula nurtured by the band is so expertly implemented that the album makes for an utterly compelling listen. SubRosa have matured substantially, delivering their most accomplished effort which shows how ingenious and poignant doom metal can get in its capacity.




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user ratings (104)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
BallsToTheWall
September 20th 2013



44164 Comments


Two songs I heard were amazing so I expect nothing less from the rest. Good review.

BallsToTheWall
September 20th 2013



44164 Comments


Also, dem violins boyo.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
September 20th 2013



7317 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Casey Mo and Ghosts of a Dead Empire are streaming here:

https://soundcloud.com/profoundlorerecords/subrosa-cosey-mo

https://soundcloud.com/profoundlorerecords/subrosa-ghosts-of-a-dead

Digging: Dog Fashion Disco - Sweet Nothings

MrElmo
September 20th 2013



1950 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review, previous album was amazing so I'm waiting for this to arrive in my mail

greg84
Staff Reviewer
September 20th 2013



7317 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

I'm surprised I like it so much (given that I was not impressed by their previous LP). You'll dig it for sure.

Wizard
September 20th 2013



19231 Comments


Awesome album!

Digging: Monarch - Sabbracadaver

CrimsonLies
September 20th 2013



2012 Comments


Sweet

tacos N stuff
September 20th 2013



349 Comments


this was really good

tacos N stuff
September 20th 2013



349 Comments


whoops double post

myhigherpie
September 20th 2013



3027 Comments


Usher is such a great song

North0House2
September 20th 2013



5812 Comments


FINALLY. A band from my hometown that's phenomenal.

Also, their debut was one of my favorite albums of last year. I'll totally check this out.

Digging: The Number Twelve Looks Like You - Mongrel

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
September 21st 2013



20007 Comments


This sounds like something I should check out.

Great review, Greg.

Agooner9
September 21st 2013



5 Comments


just listened to the snippets on itunes and this sounds sweet. gonna have to buy this

Hockeytown
September 21st 2013



101 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

really good review, album fuckin rules

Digging: Goatwhore - Constricting Rage of the Merciless

Irving
Staff Reviewer
September 21st 2013



7144 Comments


Band's not really my kind of jam, but great review Greg. Keep it up!

FearThyEvil
September 22nd 2013



12265 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Definitely need to hear this

AgainAnd
September 22nd 2013



152 Comments


Might give this a spin when a chance presents itself.

Digging: Casualties of Cool - Casualties of Cool

bairdwilliams
September 23rd 2013



1 Comments


Thank you so much for posting this review - there's no way I would have found this otherwise.

Heavy.

MrElmo
September 23rd 2013



1950 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Loving No Safe Harbour with its flutes and chill, also albums fucking slays, dunno if I prefer it to the debut tho atm

greg84
Staff Reviewer
September 23rd 2013



7317 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Ah. That's the only track on here that hasn't really clicked with me yet. The Usher is one of the best songs of the year, though.



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