Review Summary: Promising female-fronted epic doom metal with loads of potential.
It was April or May of 1996 when I was exposed to The Gathering’s Mandylion
and Theatre of Tragedy ‘s Velvet Darkness They Fear
on the very same day. Needless to say, their effect was immediate, profound and everlasting as 23 later, both of these gems are part not only of my youth but also of my regular playlist. Now, you might wonder where do these two bands fit when Flame, Dear Flame cite Atlantean Kodex, early Manowar, and Hammerheart
-era Bathory as their influences. Well, Theatre of Tragedy have no place whatsoever apart from my little story above, however, while listening to The Millennial Heartbeat
I couldn’t help but getting some Mandylion
vibes. This is probably due to the combination of the doomy guitars with female vocalist Maren Lemke’s frail and melancholic delivery, which brought to my mind a less untrained, yet amazing, Anneke Van Giersbergen.
, the Germans’ debut EP has no gothic leanings as it’s a fine slab of epic doom metal which indeed features some textbook Bathory riffing with Atlantean Kodex aesthetics. However, if I had to bring up another point of reference, maybe one a bit more up to date, that would be Lethean’s debut from the previous year, The Waters of Death
. Essentially, The Millennial Heartbeat
is a concept album which consists of three parts. The story is described by the band as “the genesis of the ocean and the thanatography of the land, a testimony of the forces of nature and its frailty alike”. I don’t know if that seems to you a bit vague and confusing, because to me it does, but with such an emotional delivery by Maren, it almost doesn’t matter what she sings.
However, to have a new band release its first official material in the form of one 21-minute song broken down into three parts is not only ambitious; it is quite ballsy, as a certain level of execution is required, but, surprisingly for a new band, these guys have made it. Therefore, The Millennial Heartbeat
is a very promising debut, as it reveals a great deal of potential. Now, if only Flame, Dear Flame work on adding some, much needed, variety and differentiation to their songwriting in the form of faster songs/parts, we might have something pretty special in our hands…