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Painthing - Where are you now...? - 94%

Edmund Sackbauer, April 15th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2018, CD, Solitude Productions

Although having been active since 2014 it took four more years for these brave Polish doom/death metal warriors to release their full length debut “”Where are you now…?”. The maturity and quality of this record is more than impressive and so it should not come as surprise that the established label Solitude Productions came along and took the chance to put this band into their roster.

Like often the case when it comes to (death/) doom metal “Where are you now…?” does not simply follow a pop song formula consisting of the traditional verse-bridge-chorus parts. The songs feature arrangements that flow and evolve as each riff closes. Each transition marks an indistinguishable final chapter in a song segment. This album is mostly comprised of pieces, not standard songs. However, it is the way how those pieces have been put together that makes this album stand out from most of its peers.

It can become a bit of a difficult listen as the band slow down to a crawl and the guitarist downpicks slowly to the slogging beat. Lovers of faster and more casual metal might find this boring and start to look elsewhere. While this is for sure not the kind of music I could listen to each and all day I highly appreciate the mood Painthing are able to create, leading to a satisfying listening experience given the right circumstances.

Fans of cinematic arrangements to doom/death metal for sure will love this effort. The lyrics keep pace with the riffs, the riffs lock in to the beats, and for brief moments during this album, Painthing remind me of Gothic-era Paradise Lost – minimalist, going slow, then fast, then back again, while melodic solos occasionally provide nuance. The music creates a bleak atmosphere and offers a certain kind of melancholic beauty. Symphonic elements are always present in the background giving the whole affair an epic character.

The production is powerful with the mix perfectly balancing a certain rawness and much needed clarity. The guitars are crunchy without burying the symphonic details. While the growls are deep and beastly each word can be perfectly understood. Rounded of by an atmospheric and mystic cover artwork this album should be worth a look for any fan of dark and crawling metal.