Review Summary: 40 Watt Sun traded some of their depression for a lot more beauty, and it was more than a worthwhile trade.
Let's get a few things out of the way first, though. No, The Inside Room
isn't the heartbreaker that Watching From A Distance
was. But this works in the favour of the album. The Inside Room
still has a very Warning-like atmosphere, but with a small change in tone. Everything still drips with the passion that it did before. It's still slow with some very well written riffs, played slowly and heavily as you would have come to expect from a Warning successor band. The album still has a depressive feel, but the album comes into its own by also offering an almost uplifting undertaste - which makes the album seem a lot less one-dimensional, and just as heartfelt and beautiful as the last offering.
It can't be easy to have to write a follow up album to something widely-accepted to be the very best of its trade. Whether true or not, Watching From A Distance
is revered as one of the, if not the, best doom metal albums of all time. The biggest reason of which was the almost unbelievably genuine and heartfelt vocals of Patrick Walker, whose every word dripped with emotion to the point where to some listeners it was almost too much to take. They're still here, and they're better than ever. Patrick Walker's vocals have been straightened out a bit, they sound a lot smoother, coming across a lot more clearly - and just as emotionally charged. Songs like 'Carry Me Home' are just as, if not more touching than a good bunch of Warning songs before due to his expressive and genuine vocals. The most attractive asset of this band is still just as compelling. So far, so good.
The instrumentation here remains very similar to that on Watching From A Distance
, which isn't a bad thing at all. The vocalist in Warning was the main attraction, and the instrumentation was there, and played well - but worked mostly to accentuate the vocals. The instrumentation here still does that, and sometimes gets a chance to shine on its own - with more lead guitars soaring high in the mix, dancing with the heartfelt voice of Patrick Walker, and an occasional acoustic outro which serves as a great way to add a bit of variation to the disc - which arguably was an issue with Watching From A Distance.
It's clear that these guys know exactly what they're doing, and they're still improving and getting better at it. As far as gripes go, this album doesn't leave much room for them since it does everything it sets out to do so masterfully. I guess the only possible gripe could be the very abrupt ending to the album, but after you've sat through over 45 minutes of perfectly executed doom metal, it's not that much of an issue.
40 Watt Sun traded some of their depression for a hell of a lot more beauty, and it was more than a worthwhile trade. Sound wise it would be difficult to tell this apart from its predecessor, but the more you listen, the more it differentiates itself from it as its own sole entity. It's a new face of the songwriter, instead of five heart-breakers, we almost have five doom metal love songs. Well, almost. Whether the new tone appeals to you or not, The Inside Room
is the heartfelt, genuine and beautiful album that Watching From A Distance
was and remains to be to this day. For that sole reason, it's a more than worthy successor.