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I’m not going to claim to be any sort of authority on doom metal, whilst I have an appreciation for the style, it isn’t one I have a lot of time for outside of writing. However, if there’s one particular sub-style of the doom genre that I do have a decent grasp on, it’s the melodic, epic brand that bands such as Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus and Solstice do so well. Luckily for me, Chile’s Procession deliver such an approach on their sophomore full-length effort.
Expect grandiose songs, passionate vocals and punishing riffs here, as it would seem Procession know exactly what they’re doing, with a deft approach to crafting their chilling, poignant brand of doom metal. Felipe Plaza Kutzbach’s vocals are a particular strong point on the album, giving a Messiah Marcolin inspired performance, with soaring, haunting vocal lines, and an ace tone. On “Death & Judgement” there’s a drop in the music, and Felipe’s vocals carry the song for a short while, which comes off quite powerful, particularly when listened to on headphones – I had chills.
The rest of the band carve leviathan sculptures of trudging riffs, pummelling bass lines, and crashing drums. The use of cymbals on the album really gives the music an ominous, thunderstorm like feel, helping to evoke the imagery conveyed in the album title, artwork, and of course the lyrics throughout. The guitar riffs are perfect doom fare, with that classic Nightfall vibe going on in places, although never verging on plagiarism, and certainly coming across heavier which is in part thanks to lower guitar sound. Claudio Botarro Neira’s bass guitars are possibly the most important aspect of the Procession sound, with his performance driving each of the tracks. The bass lines are seriously fucking cool here.
Across the album the band delivers some really well-written doom, which can be seen in the likes of the aforementioned “Death & Judgement”, the killer title track and the towering “Far From Light”. As far as I’m concerned this is some first class stuff, as I’ve said the performances are killer, although just to reiterate on the guitars; be on the look out for some blinding solos throughout the album, these guys really bring the pain.
If you’re at all a fan of the style, particularly the melodic/epic branch, then you should probably drop what you’re doing and get this album. Procession have really sold me on their sound here, with passionate performances, killer songwriting and wonderful production values. To Reap Heavens Apart is well worth checking out, and one of the finest albums I’ve heard in the genre in 2013. Recommended!
Originally written for http://www.metal-observer.com
Buried deep in the annals of metal history is the true doom lineage, a timeline of an immortal genre existent since 13th February 1970 - the release date of "Black Sabbath". There have been many wonderful bands since then but few deserving of the echelons created by that Birmingham foursome - read Candlemass, Pentagram, Trouble, Reverend Bizarre and few others. It is time to consider adding Procession to that list.
"Destroyer of the Faith" was but a sign of things to come; the "first real step on the path of success" as I said then continues here on "To Reap Heavens Apart". As the opening chords of "Damnatio Memorae" strike and the foundations are laid for a lead riff that is befitting of Primordial's much heralded compositions, "Conjurer" introduces Felipe Kutzbach's despairing vocals to a musical performance that reveals depth and intrigue. The rumbling bass sound and performance of Claudio Neira is a defining aspect of the album; ever audible and just as keen to court attention while the two guitars vie for leads and rhythm domination, he floats free of the supposed structure for bass to imitate guitar, increasing the well of emotion and scale of composition at a stroke.
Right down from the vastness of the artwork (which begs for vinyl purchase) the huge scale of this album continues with "Death & Judgement", its stomping Candlemass-ian opening ably matched by Kutzbach's pleading of "There's someone calling at my grave / I can't believe I am dead" in tones of revential penance. The subsequent solos, which rise and fall with the tempo, round off a true great. Into the album's title track and Procession move in a faster vein on a true epic; the vocal structure around the chorus brings me goosebumps even after multiple listens as Kutzbach leads his comrades high into the heavens with a classic searing procession of lines and lead riffs. Even those less effected than I cannot doubt the effectiveness of the frontman in stirring the metal soul in true Alan Averill (Primordial) style as if a commander on the eve of war.
As an album this is rich in positivity if you know how to find it among the courage and strength that bleeds from every riff, but in "The Death Minstrel" there is a true spirit crusher in classic doom fashion. Mournful acoustic guitar leads into a funereal march of a riff, each snare hit sounding like a hammer to heart of skinsman Uno Bruniosson. Such morose sentiments wash into epic closer "Far From Light" which peddles the expertly simplistic feel of Reverend Bizarre to fill an endless void of time with a cascading voluminous pounding sent straight from above.
Doom metal in 2013 has many great acts in its diverse and disparate guises but in Procession it has an act beyond mere 'great'. This band have it - that magical, elusive quality immediately endorsing of a band who don't just play their music but stand for its virtues and become a figurehead for others to look up to. True doom metal has that in Procession.
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net