Bleak winds and an icy cold live outside of the RockmusicRaider offices. A snowstorm from the East is being delivered right now and the temperature drops rapidly towards absolute numbers. At least that is what this feels like these days. And I don’t even live in the frozen tundra of Siberia, even if it feels like it. This is supposed to be temperate over here. So, where did the friggin’ global warming go all of a sudden? But hey, you have no choice than to go with the flow. And enough whining for now.
So, what better time than now to finally look at a Death Doom Metal record from the Russian motherland. The band Lorelei just issued their sophomore album Shadows of October this November of 2017. And it should be worthy of your attention.
You’ll find a score of bands named after the famous rock above the Rhine river. This is where the lovely maiden used to sit and sing her siren song to the riverboat captains to make them lose their minds and crash onto the cliffs on that particular bend of the river. Never heard of the tale? Then it is a good time to read up on it.
It is – by the way – a mystery to me why so many bands name their bands after something famous. Or simply go for words that are already much in use. It dilutes their market value and increases marketing efforts exponentially. But hey, who am I, right? So back to the review: If you look for this particular band, then go for the doomsters from way over east in ice-cold Russia, not the UK or US-based gigs.
The band started in 2003 as a two member outfit in Eastern Siberia (there you go…). In 2009 they built a line-up in Moscow and increased their gig to currently seven musicians and vocalists. Starting out more in the symphonic area of all things metal, they saw the light and moved their main style to a lesser solicited genre, notably in the Doom Death Metal area. And it fits them pretty well, I’d like to add.
Lorelei sports an eclectic mix of Scandinavian Melodic Death Metal Insomnium style, a trifle My Silent Wake (in their former doom-laden incarnation, not today’s weird goofs) and a goodly dose of Paradise Lost. Shadows of October cloaks itself in a stout, yet still melodic Doom Death Metal robe. Slow, somber and – at times – grim riffs moderated by guitars and keyboards abound. The gruffly delivered, but tastily arranged growls risk to captivate you right from the start. And they take no prisoners with a no-nonsense approach to their metal. Shunning the usual intro, the band steps right into their bleak landscape of doom and depression. A point well made and delivered with a vengeance.
I particularly like the melodic taste Lorelei added to Shadows of October. This, together with the sporadic blurbs of female clear vocals, takes their tune out of the die-hard mainstream. Into an area that no great number of bands visited before. So, all is cool then, right? Well, come again.
The band’s explicit choice to sing solely in Russian clearly works against them. This can be a great attribute if you want to stay underground as a band and only serve the limited crowd dwelling there. If, however, you want to rise and shine, then another formula might be better. Not all needs to be in English, though. There is no need to bow to the mighty Gods of Rock that the US music industry managed to install so successfully after the last big war. But I have seen bands using a mix of their native tongue and English language to great success. Take Todtgelichter for instance: They use German for drama when it suits them and go for English suddenly to startle the listener. This together with their very unique style really makes you pay attention and keeps you on your toes.
Then there is the repetition bug. After a while a certain lack of variation installs itself into the tune Shadows of October presents. If there is nothing to startle the listener out his or her reverie, then all of a sudden the album is over. And you ask yourself what just happened. On the production side things look quite positive, albeit just on the good side of the infamous brick wall.
In all, however, Lorelei managed to produce a pretty sturdy album. Shadows of October takes Death Doom Metal to the next level. Gruff and solemn, meaty yet refined, the album solidly installs itself in the genre. However, by adding intricate melodic elements and occasional bursts of female clear vocals, the band takes this record out of the vile mainstream and into a realm where the mists of depression are less crowded. This is another underrated band that I would like to see more of. But this can only be done once they start to move more center-stage and gain more visibility on the world scene. Cool record, though. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
[Editor’s note: The record successfully made it onto the Intermittent Digest – Tome VII. Contrats!]
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