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Hell hath no fury; I rule your world! - 70%

Aetheraeon, March 2nd, 2008

Norway’s Syrach have returned to the doom metal scene after over a decade of absence and their new album “Days of Wrath” shows that they have made an album that is definitely still relevant in this day and age. Despite having all of the features of a typical doom metal album, Syrach’s “Days of Wrath” was quite a pleasant surprise to hear. It is, of course, a doom metal album, but what surprised me was that at the same time it was a rather rocking album as well. The album is as heavy and crushing as anyone would like it, yet it never gets too drawn-out or tedious and that is usually the downfall for many other bands in this genre.

The vocals mainly consist of a thick deep growl that is still largely understandable and fits the style of music quite well. In the song ‘Semper Ardens’ we also hear both male and female clean vocals. The clean vocals are provided by Silje Wergeland (Octavia Sperati) and, although scarcely used, form a strong contrast with the male growl. That is not to say that they should have used the female vocals more often, however. As it is, the female vocals are added in just the right places as it is. The vocal department does seem to be slightly inconsistent at times, which is a shame because Kenneth Olsen has a quality deep growl. For the most part the vocals sound natural and there is nothing wrong with them, but at other times they sound too heavily processed (on ‘The Twilight Enigma’, for instance) which does not fit in with the overall sound of the album, making it sound far too mechanical for its own good.

The music is heavy but also nicely melodious, creating an interesting dark atmosphere. The atmosphere is largely created through the guitar work which never too complex or overly complicated. Though largely consisting of heavy riffs played at various tempos, there is a lot of room for melodies as well. Luckily, no keyboards are used to fill out this atmosphere, because that would have ruined it completely. There are a lot of tempo changes throughout the album and it is this sense of dynamics that keeps the music interesting. A large part of the band’s songs are played at mid-tempo rather than at extremely slow pace, and the overall sound is more like that of traditional doom metal than doom/death. Some quality leads have been added to various songs and when they are there they work well. The bass has a nice kick to it and provides for a rocking low end and the drums are sufficient, doing what they have to alternating between blasts and slow rhythms being beaten. There is a lot of variety between the songs, in both song length and quality, and it is mainly the shortest song (‘Nine Fallen Men’) that is not as convincing as the rest of the album. On the other hand you have a song like ‘Come Daemons’ that is incredibly catchy and had me singing along to the lines “kiss me goodbye my friend / we suffer our losses and depart” on first listen.

Though not completely without its flaws and though never amazingly groundbreaking, “Days of Wrath” is a good album and it should appeal to quite a diverse crowd. It is heavy and doomy enough to appeal to fans of doom metal, but there is still enough variety and tempo in these songs to be interesting to those who do not usually find themselves enjoying the genre. There are some quality tracks on the album, with ‘The Firm Grip of Death’ taking the lead, and some tracks that do not fully reach their potential, but overall it is an album that deserves a listen.

(Originally written for http://www.gothtronic.com/)

Great classic doom metal - 80%

KingOvFrost, November 11th, 2007

Great Britain, USA, Finland and to some extent Sweden have since the early start of Doom Metal in the early 1980s been categorized as the leading doom metal nations. Nowadays, Finland especially spews out one excellent doom band after another. Doom metal is slower, heavier and darker than “normal” heavy metal and the lyrics play a substantial part of the band’s overall theme. The lyrics are traditionally overflowed with pessimism, evoking an atmosphere of darkness, despair and misery. What’s the point of being miserable and wasting your life away on pessimistic thoughts one might ask oneself? Well, it’s impossible going through the life as being constantly happy seeing we all experience grief and face difficulties in various stages of our lives, and doom metal to me, is a perfect remedy when I feel down or depressed because some of metal’s most prominent melody lines originate from stellar doom metal bands. Norway’s Syrach belong to this division and now in 2007, eleven years after their debut, they are finally ready to release their new opus Days of Wrath.

Aaron Stainthorpe of the legendary UK doom metal act My Dying Bride designed the artwork and he did an awesome job in capturing the dark atmosphere of the songs and lyrics. Arve Isdal (I, Audrey Horne, Enslaved), Herbrand Larsen(Enslaved) and Bjørnar Erevik Nilsen (Vulture Industries) handled the production duties and to my big surprise I was actually not 100% pleased with the end result. There’s an old school feel to the sound and this muddy or gritty sound did not do the haunting melodies full justice. I feel crystal clear sound and rich&modern production is needed when it comes to doom metal in order to fully emphasize all details.

However, the production is more than ok and did not put me off listening to this album. The actual music is what matters and musically, Days of Wrath, is rife with sorrowful melody hook lines and aggressive down tuned mid tempo slabs. As opposed to many Finnish doom metal bands which often resort to keyboards in their effort in creating sad atmospheres, Syrach go for a more aggressive approach with only focusing on utilizing guitars and bass in addition to drums and vocals. Syrach avoid employing death metal screams and grunts and Ripper’s vocals are fully audible, albeit a bit more extreme than normal clean singing, but his husky voice fits the songs like a glove. Silje Wergeland of Octavia Sperati contributes with beautiful clean female singing to the songs The Firm Grip of Death, Semper Ardens and The Twilight Enigma.

With an average track length of eight minutes and three seconds Syrach’s Days of Wrath will appeal to not only die hard doom metal fans, but also to fans of less extreme metal genres as Syrach’s music contain more accessible elements. Syrach’s compositions are rooted in melodic heavy metal and only the lyrical concept and their slower approach to the songwriting process plus harsher vocals tells that this is pure quality classic doom metal anno 2007. The catchy opening guitar riffs to Nine Fallen Men is worthy of being compared to classic Candlemass material and the 14 minute epic The Firm Grip of Death is a reason alone to buy this craft of art.

Originally written by KingOvFrost for http://www.northernmetal.info