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Doom by the numbers - 65%

kapitankraut, October 3rd, 2008

I'm told that, in their brief time together, the members of Ningizzia weren't often in the same room - one being French and the other Swedish. While that may not strictly be true, a lot of "Dolorous Novella" sounds as though it was composed at a distance, and it suffers from that.

A common problem with doom metal is that it's very difficult to be original. Stretch out too much in your compositions and risk being identified as a second-rate version of one legend, while the exact same fate awaits those who compress their music into shorter tracks. Sing in this way and sound like someone, sing in another way and sound like someone else. The genius of truly original doom is to take that template and manipulate it just enough to sound fresh and interesting without alienating the hardcore fanbase which expects at least something traditional.

Ningizzia, on the other hand, have released an album which is seemingly more than content to ape a lot of other bands. The result is something that's derivative and thus more likely to appeal to fans of the style than win new converts.

The most notable part of this is to be found in the harsh vocals. While these are undeniably well done, and treated with an echo effect to make them sound even more foreboding, they sound almost identical to a lot of Skepticism's work. Sure, Skepticism are a great band in their way and clearly someone any doom act would look up to, but sounding identical to them (the first two tracks in particular suffer from this problem) doesn't serve to impress any distinctiveness on the listener.

A lot of the rest of the album sounds similarly derivative. I can't quite put my finger on it, but throughout the album I've often caught myself thinking "I've heard this before, and better". It's all competently played and far from bad, but it's entirely generic stuff and not some massive new saviour of the style, as some have argued.

Hardcore doom fans will enjoy this, but casual listeners would be better off sticking to an established band.