This year already whelped pretty sturdy and traditionally-minded Doom Metal records that we still fondly remember. But the real rush towards oldish tears and trepidation started in 2020 when old-style doomers boarded the massive RMR 100-gun flagship with a mighty roar. Since then, our lookouts never stopped searching for more slow ‘n’ heavy sorrowful pieces.
One would typically go a-hunting on anglo-saxon shores for bands in that genre with – perhaps – a few injections from Western Europe. But sometimes the RMR radar will detect promising candidates from other spots on our vast globe. So, let’s head East for once.
The Russians of Without God with their newest album Siberian Tunes: Purple Clouds definitely qualify. Here’s a band that one would easily place somewhere in the boonies of the American Mid-West. Their Doom Metal comes with a deliciously sludgy stoner itch. One that’s full of stellar slow-marching riffs and roaring solos to die for. And all of that comes on a foundation of good old Stoner Metal stuffed to the gills with fuzz and wah-wah.
In a way, you’ll find a swampy version of Khemmis going full-tilt Crypt Sermon. And sometimes I had these crazy visions of Siberian Tunes slam in the middle of Black Sabbath’s older discography, somewhere around the Paranoid era. Or just thereafter.
And this is one record that takes no prisoners. Albeit that I would have liked the typical clear voice vocals to hit a bit more front-center. Those kinda sit in the background of the mix when they should be in yer face. Also, the band sports a tendency to noodle about the soundscape with needlessly lengthy bouts of riffing and soloing. And that starts to disturb the peace somewhat in the second half where quality tunes become scarcer.
That said, let me stress again that this is mostly high-octane Stoner Doom that them Russian boys lobbed in our direction. Already Bad Seeds with its Dane-ish1) vocals and stellar solo leaves you with no doubt where this is going. Mask – for instance – is that one track with that juicy oomph, a slow-moving heap of doomy groove that roared out of our music machine way too many times. Makes me wanna break out that olde bag o’ weed every time I hear it.
The slightly grungy beat of Celebration harkens back to times when steamy music halls and teen spirits were all the rage. In a typical doom manner, mind you, but – boy – this one here got my internal wayback machine running overtime. And whoever said that Without God could not manage a bout of psychedelic speed, right?
Now, Song of a Stone comes in second on Siberian Tunes. Where the aforementioned Mask was something that Crypt Sermon never thought of, this track here made our day. The wah-wah filled solos, the stately riffs, and – wait for it – a bit of an excursion into prog’s delights had our minds wandering off.
Unfortunately, where there is light, you’ll find darkness. I often deplore the uncanny length of a record and this one is no different. It does unfortunately contain a few duds in a relatively short tracklist. Not a Care, for instance, would be one of those that could have easily been dismissed from the tracklist. Just sayin’.
Ultimately, however, Siberian Tunes: Purple Clouds delivers Doom Metal just the way we crave it. And Without God turned out to be one of those rare bands fully worth its doomy salt. They indeed planted their stakes firmly where Doom Metal dwells and let everybody know about it. A juicy stream of well-balanced, sludgy, slightly psychedelic, stoner-infused sorrow.
Take heed, they will be going places.
Get dat tune:
|1.||As in Warrel Dane, late of Nevermore.|