Review Summary: Evocative Death/Doom from Germany
This is without a doubt one of the strongest death/doom releases of this year. Most bands keep it relatively straightforward, either in the Disembowelment vein or something similar to Winter if not the early UK doom trio-inspired music, but Doomed from Germany is rendering it atmospheric and adding exotic touches not unlike Runemagick. Take for instance In My Own Abyss which has haunting vocal patterns and a Middle Eastern touch – almost as if there’s a mass prayer being held before a sacrifice of some sort. Another dead ringer would be My Hand In Yours, reminiscent of Runemagick at its exotic doomy best. Both of these songs are the highlights of this album simply because the band is doing something slightly different than hordes of other bands out there. The rest of the songs hover around the same tempo, being more varied or perhaps less atmospheric and intriguing, reminiscent of Worship at times, Officium Triste too. It’s perhaps a coincidence that Pim Blankenstein of the latter band does guest vocals on the first song titled When Hope Disappears.
The band has a charm of its own. All its artworks are in similar colour tone but get progressively better and more expressive. The music too is like that, having shades of the same feeling or expression. It’s even comparable to Ophis at times, but there’s more of a hidden beauty with Doomed. With the death metal influences, the power and heaviness is there but somehow also the fragility of doom, evocative of the early UK doom bands. The pace is quite slow but bordering on funeral doom and not surpassing it. The result is fairly competent death/doom music that’s heavy enough for death metal and just about doomy enough to not drag down the proceedings completely, although that’s no affront to funeral doom, which usually employs more keyboards and goes for a different, thicker atmosphere. Doomed has managed to capture its essence and express it in this manner remarkably well.
But it’s when the band dabbles in more exotic and atmospheric realms that the music really shines. I keep returning to those exotic Runemagick-ish tracks since they offer something more and they're naturally more memorable as they stand out. Even otherwise, the album is extremely satisfying, competent in the way Doom:VS is, but I like to look for that something extra each time. While there might be great quality in the genre, it’s become repetitive and dull. Thankfully Doomed have managed to make sure the music is balanced with the right tempo and atmosphere and there are these beautiful haunting melodies and leads that jolt you right out of your complacency, however soothing. Interestingly, despite guest vocal appearances from Pim Blankenstein and Andreas Kaufmann (Hatespawn, Charon), Doomed is pretty much a one-man show. The talented person behind it is Pierre Laube. Hats off to the dude for crafting music with such emotions, poise and an inherent intensity. It could be categorized alongside greats like Officium Triste or Doom:VS for that matter, because the essence is similar only the expression is personal and dynamic in a sense. Real class here, gentlemen.