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This is my first review for Metal-Archives. The reason I chose this album to be the first one being reviewed is that this was the album that made me understand gutural vocals, what they are, why they exist and what they mean.
If you follow them since the beginning, something to notice immediately is about the style. They used to be more like "old school death metal", then turned a bit melodic, then turned to doom metal in this release. They were really good as a death metal band, and usually when a band is considered good, and they change their style, it turns out bad. But that's not what we have here. The album is creative, melodic, heavy, and beautiful. The atmosphere is just like the artwork (which is amazingly beautiful) suggests: dark, gloomy, and Scandinavian.
The album starts with an intro piece on piano, very touching and beautiful. And soon you're into a tide of good/heavy/melodic riffs and a low pitched growl. Into Hiding is the perfect song to summarize the whole album. We have clean vocals here also, interacting with the gutural voices. The next song, The Castaway is clearly influenced by local melodies and Pink Floyd. Yes, Pink Floyd. Check it out yourself at the mark of 4 minutes. First Doom shows some influence from the past with faster riffs than the rest of the album, and lots of double bass.
The next song is a masterpiece. Best song of the album in my opinion, and the first song I heard by them. Magic melody and creative riffs, which is more like a solo. The clean vocals strike again with grace and beauty. The main solo is played by a keyboard then it is followed by the essence of the riff, which, as I said, is more like a solo, and if you play guitar, you should try to learn this piece, soon you'll realize this isn't easy at all!
Drowned Maid's got the best groove of the album. and the best chorus as well. Lots of riffs keeps looping during the song for like 20 times, but turns out this is the magic of the song, every time the next riff comes, you feel like you're hipnotized by the melody.
The rest of the album keeps showing more progressive influences and local melodies. The use of keyboard solos/arranges are very creative and deserves to be noticed properly. Forgotten Sunrise has a nice time signature which will make you look to your guitar and say: "I want to put up something like this for one song of mine". Same occurs when you listen to the riff at 2:50. Very heavy and catchy, maybe the heaviest riff in the album. Followed by a solo that will surely crawl your skin. To Father's Cabin starts with a progressive wave, then clean vocals declaimed like a poetry are followed by a nice piece of improvisation and good riffs, like the one at 2:32. No vocals until the end of the song: magic! Which is by the way a part of the name of the last song. Magic & Mayhem. Soon enough at :20, you'll see a beautiful bridge which leads you to a festival of riffs, until, finally the song starts. It's a great song filled with finnish influences also. Some versions have the weird and funny cover Light My Fire (The Doors). It's heavy and awkward. If you haven't had yet, the opportunity to listen to that, you might wanna. Funny stuff.
Overall, the album deserves the rate I gave to it. Not only because is an important album for me, which I consider as a milestone, but this is a true masterpiece that should last forever as one of the best doom metal albums.