Review Summary: Consisting of musicians hailing from both Chile and Sweden, Procession have created a truly memorable epic doom metal album.
Finding a way to describe epic doom metal, or how it differs from traditional doom metal is often hard, due to the overusing of the word epic in our daily lives, where it is constantly used to describe an array of mundane things that are amusing, shocking, or just remotely entertaining. In the musical world, it has been so widely used to describe anything that is lengthy, has operatic vocals or involves vikings, heroes, adventures or magic, that it has become too generic a term to describe any aspect of the music itself.
So what exactly are we talking about here? For me epicness in music involves passion and atmosphere more than anything. The experience of all sorts of feelings, always in a grandiose manner, often accompanied of images of vast, dreadful, intriguing, remote or simply entirely incomprehensible landscapes. Mountains crumbling down on judgement day, a god being brought down from his throne, a ragged ship on a journey across stormy seas, realization that life is ultimately meaningless, mysterious cultists ruling the world from the shadows, astronauts space travelling through wormholes. Or, as in the cover artwork of this album, an army of tormented souls marching through the clouds to meet their destiny. To Reap Heavens Apart
has the magic to create this kind of intense feelings and artful, powerful imagery in the mind of the listener through a thick, heavy, oppressing atmosphere and excellent musicianship.
Musically, the album follows the epic doom metal guidelines laid down by pioneer bands like Candlemass or Solitude Aeternus. Crushing guitars, pounding drums and passionate vocals: From the very first chords of the intro, through the buildup and climax of Conjurer
and the more uplifting To Reap Heavens Apart
, and ending with the slower Far From Light
, everything is crafted with precision and mastery. The riffs are monolithic and flow into and from solos perfectly -and there are plenty of both-. Bass isn't content with just following along the guitar melodies and instead finds its own way through the songs. Vocals fit the atmosphere of the album perfectly, and coupled with great lyrics are definitely a big point in the album. Production is excellent, allowing all the instruments to be clearly heard while avoiding to sound manufactured by keeping it slightly dirty, which is essential for a record like this to mantain its magic throughout the album.
Procession take the bases laid down by the pioneers but are not afraid to play it their way, throwing plenty of more traditional metal oriented guitar work and solos into the mix without losing any epicness nor doomness for it. This might well be considered a doom metal classic.