Published on Thursday, 07 August 2014 18:26
Release date: 5 May 2014
Label: Solitude Productions
02. A Quietly Forming Collapse
03. White Coffins
04. The Dead Swan Of The Woods
05. Oceans Of Despair
06. The Slow Ascent
Johan Ericson is back with his project Doom:VS, rejoice lovers of all things doom! It's not a secret that the new album from this multi talented musician and producer, known mostly because beign a part of gothic/doom band Draconian, was one of the most anticipated releases in the doom scene this year. You must know that it passed six years since the release of grandiose album, Dead Words Speak, considered by many as a true masterpiece of the genre. Now, there's even more bleakness, melody, crushing riffs and rich atmosphere than before. Six tracks on Earthless are nothing but an obscure ride into the most dreadful, yet sinister and provocative places your imaginatin can invoke. All the pieces form an unity that must be consumed in your most solitary moments to get a proper effect.
Taking a step further from the previous album, Dead Words Speak, leaving behind the funeral doom sound almost completely, this new release holds an imense power and kind of unpretentious dynamics. Maybe it wouldn't be unfair to say that at some point it sounds just like a mix between Draconian and later Saturnus (note that Thomas A.G. Nielsen is responsible for the growls on this record), but the point is in how it's executed. Slow paced melodic guitar layers, some nice crescendos, simply great leads, overtaken by guttural vocals, some clean singing and those typical spoken parts that form such a dramatic experience that must be necessary to make a doom release bereable also for those not really devoted into the genre. Doom:VS with Earthless actually combine the most melancholic gothic metal with doom and death metal, nothing really that new, but once you hear those lush melodies and dense melancholic atmospheres you must be left breathless.
Earthless gets its peak in soul consuming melancholic masterpiece "Oceans Of Despair", where melodious and bleak driving guitars, at some point have even a bit of similarity with early Paradise Lost, and brutal vocals that twice get intertwined with a memorable clean singing refrain must retrieve the incurable sadness that was hidden deep inside of each one who sees the world damaged as it really is. Heavy drum kicks are giving the necessary callousness to complete the picture thus showing how helpless we are by punishing with each hit. There are still a lot of things left to discover in those six epic tracks if you just dare to give it a chance to be overtaken by this dark sonic emotional cataclysm. In top of all that the album comes with a very well done eerie artwork and production that gives even more depth to the whole thing. Yes, Johan Ericson plus Thomas A.G. Nielsen is a winning combination, maybe it will be for somebody too much similar in atmosphere to Saturnus's last album Saturn In Ascension mixed with Draconian's Turning Season Within, but nevertheless, believe me, is much more than just that.
So the only question after this experience remains: "How far can my voice reach? Beyond the stars? Will dusk bring hope or devour me?"
Review written by: T.V.