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Onward To The Recycle Bin! (Part X) - 65%

OzzyApu, September 17th, 2009

As a forlorn doom album, this isn’t all too bad. It can get a tad sluggish, since nothing eventful really takes place (or any real build-up), but the gloomy tone adds a fine touch to the raw (but polished) production. I’ll go on record right now by saying that I absolutely (without a doubt) fucking hate Liv Kristine and her vocals; I always have and I always will. Yes, they’re soprano vocals, but they’re so annoying with their Barbie doll high-pitch, completely detracting from the listening experience. I can’t think of one instance where / when I’d like them, except maybe if I was getting paid. Regardless they sound so fake, processed, and polished that it goes against everything that the bludgeoning doom metal being played stands for. Raymond’s vocals are wicked death grunts with little echo but a ton of tormented passion in them. They’re beastly (hence beauty and the beast style vocals), and keep this album on its feet everytime Kristine butchers it with her role.

As doom metal, the album can be pretty blazing when it comes to the riffs and bleak mood. It’s a dark album in this respect, but the gothic elements add a more traditionally depressing atmosphere and theme to feed from. The Old English, the classical instruments (keys, strings, acoustics), and the vibe all reflects that of older times, making for an almost medieval experience. These emotions are revealed most in “…A Distance There Is…” but they’re scattered in lesser amounts elsewhere on the album. They aren’t cheesy at all, and go very well with the rough collage of woeful riffs and demonic roars.

Bass support does paint a glossier picture on things with its addition to the music, following the riffs in their wake. Their grumbles thrive off of what pounds from the guitars, so the whole thing is very pumped. Drumming oddly feels very secondary – the bass gets lumped with the guitars, the keys intermingle with the two different vocal styles (both acting against eachother instead of together), but sometimes doesn’t get in on the fun. Most of the time this isn’t a problem, and the sound of them feels distinctively ‘80s (with their echo and all). The bass drum is pretty quiet, but otherwise that’s really all the bad coming out of them.

From what I’ve heard, this is not even close to a masterpiece as some people make it out to be. Sure, it helped usher in the use of two different vocal styles acting off each other, but only one of them is actually worth anything. I’ll happily take later Theatre Of Tragedy – you know, the one with both vocals actually being good…