From the German capital of Berlin, comes occult doom metallers Albez Duz. The project of two like souls, the band take doom metal to even darker and more heart wrenching places than many thought possible. On their self titled album, they look to infuse traditional doom with the likes of Pink Floyd. And with the passing of singer Lars earlier this year, this album is a testament to their collective vision.
Haunting feedback opens the album, as "Missa Lunaris" begins. The drums enter with a resounding boom, and distorted guitars echo in the distance. The low rumble builds, with the constant thud of kick drums leading the way. This is down tempo doom in the purest form. The vocals enter with a unique sound, more of a melodic speech occupying the early stages. A deep, throaty clean singing takes over later, taking the My Dying Bride sound to even deeper levels. The background noises are frightening, with the cold breeze of an autumn night chilling you. Keyboards provide the atmosphere and drums provide the beat, with sparing guitars coming and going. Softly spoken words creep in and out, as if from beyond the grave. The heavier moments approach, with guitar strings bending into twisted notes that cry from the dark. There is no light at the end of the tunnel, only darkness.
A flurry of drums and guitars launch "Rev. In Blood," completely contrary to what the track before it had displayed. But soon, the activity calms and we are back into the darkest of doom. There is something eerie about the vocal patterns as they are layered over music that would feel at home in a cemetery. The drums cut through it all, crystal clear and thunderous, shaking you to your very core. Th downtuned chugging, with harsh distortion accenting each spoken word. It all descends into a rolling drum solo of sorts, pounding away at every kick, snare and tom in site. A ghostly guitar melody pulls you back on track, taking you by the hand and leading you down a path of despair and sadness.
"Redeemer" is a complete work, with well thought out instrumentation coming together in an otherworldly way. Keyboards provide an ambiance, a foundation for everything else to be built on. The vocals can't help but bring to mind a hybrid of My Dying Bride's Aaron Stainthorpe and Peter Steele, fallen frontman of Type O Negative. Rolling double kicks and light guitar melodies see this through to the end, without falling victim to the dreaded over extension that doom bands so often try. Likewise, "Going Nowhere" begins with a bang, and carries out its purpose with precise and well delivered bursts. The band even break from the traditional doom tempo and choose to push forward with high speed drumming. The lyrics speak to thoughts of sorrow and loss, painting an ever fading picture of life. The atmospheric use of keyboards in the outro portion leaves a cold mist around you.
The instrumental track, "Leichenhain" could easily find an niche as a horror movie score, with organs filling the air. The track is rolling thunder incarnate, with a never ending supply of kicks and snares demolishing everything in their path. The bass line that creeps in and out of your sonic path is smooth, yet somehow frightening. The soft interludes of organ and tapping of cymbals combine flawlessly with clean guitar plucking. It cuts through the gloom to the heart. The closing track is unlike anything else the album has to offer, seeing a more uptempo approach, reminiscent of seventies psychedelic rock. By far the shortest track on the album, it sees some more colorful instrumentation, from the guitars to some vocal chanting.
Far too often, doom projects trip over their own feet, trying to hard to be heavy, both musically and contextually. Though perceived to be one of the easier sub-genres of metal to make, doom is one of the more difficult to perfect. Albez Duz do an admirable job of creating an album that is both dark and sorrowful, without being pretentious. It remains to be seen where the band will go from here, especially after the passing of their singer. But I fully expect that will provide countless inspiration for a sophomore album.
Myspace - http://www.myspace.com/albezduz