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I Am the End - 90%

GiantRex, November 21st, 2016
Written based on this version: 2007, CD, Endzeit Elegies

For a long time, this album was, for me, a tough nut to crack. Perhaps one of the most literal funeral doom albums ever, Dooom is confounding in many ways, and it starts with the title. You can say what you want about not judging books by their covers, but it is a tall order indeed not to draw some conclusions about an album bearing the title “Dooom” and cover art that looks like it was lifted from a trendy young adult novel. Of special note here is the packaging, which wins my vote for Least Practical Gatefold of All Time. The CD is buried behind five flaps of cardboard, which unfold from the top first, and when fully unfurled form the shape of a cross. Additional artwork in the style of the front cover is featured on the inside of the packaging, seven numbered pieces in total for the seven original tracks on this album, which in order depict the story of the album like the stations of the cross. Garish, yes, but it is on-theme with the final track and the culmination of the story. What more could you reasonably expect from a band with a member who is posthumously credited as “Fucked-Up Mad Max”?

What awaits the listener inside is a tale that would be at home in the notebook of an edgy high school student. Dooom is a concept album, telling the tale of a man who awakens upon an altar of stone to find himself in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, the world he knew in ruins. Seemingly the last human on earth, he wanders around for a while wallowing in angst, before he stumbles upon a faceless cult who believe that the Earth was purged for its sins, and that he must die to complete the Earth’s penance. Our protagonist escapes from the cult’s clutches and wallows in despair some more before surrendering to the cult, accepting his fate, and welcoming death as he is crucified. This is the type of shit that causes conservative teachers to send concerned letters to parents regarding the content of their child’s creative writing assignment.

With this much criticism lobbied against this album, how can I possibly have rated it so highly? That is because, despite everything I have said, the music is very good. That is the crux of the matter. It does not matter one iota if a work’s premise and appearance are so silly that it is a challenge to treat it seriously. The only thing that matters is if the content itself has merit, and Dooom absolutely does. As an artist, if your work is delivered with ostensible sincerity and effort, you are not guilty for some perceived artistic atrocity because you were honest with yourself and your audience. And as a listener, you are not going to despoil your credibility as a member of the metal community if you allow yourself to indulge in something purely for its intrinsic value, aesthetics be damned.

The intrinsic value to be found here is in allowing oneself to indulge in misery. It is a deeply cathartic exercise. Dooom is bleak music. Worship pushes the boundaries of funeral doom about as far as they can go without entering outright drone territory. The songs move at a slower pace than anything I have heard outside of actual drone. Although this music has clear inspirations in the work of Mournful Congregation and Thergothon, it also owes a considerable debt to Sunn O))). I say it partially because of the lyrical content (see “All I Ever Knew Lie Dead” and “Graveyard Horizon”), but this music emphasizes the funeral part of funeral doom much more than the doom part. Overwrought as it may be, this album is a funeral for all of humanity, and Worship takes that seriously.

Riffs are in short supply here. Instead, Dooom focuses on droning chords that are punctuated by sparse drumming in the background, and mournful guitar leads that hover somewhere in the distance. The guitar tone is a bit whiny for this style of music, which lends itself to the perception that the album is whiny, but I find it fitting. The bass is also noticeably dry, which may have been intentional, much like the guitar tones. The synths mostly mimic church organs and bells, another nod to the funeral-like atmosphere. The most challenging aspect of the music for me has always been its lack of much sense of forward motion. For music that is structured in such a way that it sounds like it should be moving (noticeable chord progression, consistent drum beats, etc.), it stands still an astonishing amount of the time. It creates the sense that these songs are impenetrable walls of sound despite appearing accessible up front, bridging the gap between traditionally structured music and drone.

I may be critical of the album’s premise, but I will say that I think this is an evocative album. I think that Dooom takes itself completely seriously, and I think that is a vital part of the experience. This album makes a rather successful attempt at immersing the listener in a post-apocalyptic wasteland and walking us through the despair of that experience. If you are willing to go along for the ride, then this album is well worth your time. The problem is that the experience is rather one-note. If you are not interested in more than an hour of complete misery with little else, Dooom will do nothing for you. I say you should embrace the misery, and embrace the end.

DOOOM - 95%

IxI_KILLING, June 22nd, 2011

Rejection, depression, suicidal thoughts, in-depth ways to just block out everything this world has to offer, these are the feelings I receive while listening to “Dooom” by the almighty Worship. Death seems to follow this band in more ways than one, back in 2001 their old vocalist “Fucked-up Mad Max”, also apart of Kult and Beer Vomit, killed himself by jumping off a bridge while on a trip in Canada. Worship disbanded after the tragedy but quickly come back the following year and released four splits in the span of five years. Fast-foward to 2007, “Dooom” was giving to us on a golden plate covered in anguish, sadness and overwhelming thoughts of suicide.

The way this record presents itself is similar to a very slowly rotting disease that eats away at you until you just want to hang yourself inside a very small closet. Eight tracks spanning over an hour and twelve minutes, you never feel free while listening to this record, “Dooom” makes you feel trapped inside a glass cube while being raped with regret and suffering. Prepare to battle with personal demons, inner struggles and the decision on whether you even want to live anymore. The atmosphere this record brings are some that I’ve never felt before, it reminds me of the souls I’ve lost in the past, makes me questions the choices I made up to this point in my life and even makes me question if I’m worth a shit. On the opposite side, in a very dark, twisted way this record can be beautiful, tranquil and full of hope that only the stronger souls can get in touch with.

“Through blood and thorns I wandered, freezing, aching, bound for a ruined cathedral below. All is dead, look! Only rust, and debris, and shells of stone remain, drowning in ashes, as if we had never been. Everyone I had ever known. Everyone I’d ever meet. Everyone I ever loved. Gone with the centuries, lost under a sea of ashes.”

Lyrics such as these are exactly what you will get in this grief stricken, gloom filled record. In a world were nothing matters except bringing everything around you down and escaping the heartache of the lies from the human race, Worship does that very well. Another huge plus about this record is the way it creeps and ponders around the slowness of it. The way the record just barely moves along with it’s unforgiving riffs of sorrow, vocals of despair and very, very slow drum beats, if suicide ever had an official soundtrack, “Dooom” would be it. If you think tracks likes “Dopesmoker” from Sleep, anything by Sunn O))), Earth or Bongripper are slow, think again because this record sure does pack a punch. Many like to think of Worship as Funeral Doom but they have that influence of Drone also, so maybe Funeral Drone? Either way, as much as I hate the inner struggles and battles this record gives me, I can’t seem to tear myself away from it.

Any record that makes me wanna hang myself from a tree or run into on coming traffic, that record is worthy of being played multiple times a week in my book. Worship have been releasing glorious records over the years and hopefully the next split/ep/full-length will be just as mighty as this sword is.

Originally written for: http://bloodorlove.domesticgenocide.com/

d o o o m - 86%

caspian, April 25th, 2011

The last worship album I heard (that would be last mp3 before doomsday) was a real beast of a funeral doom album, just lots of really huge riffs and even a really awesome nod to Godflesh, along with some great clean bits. It was original and really entertaining, and yet it still delivered on the thing that every funeral doom band is so keen on, the desolate atmosphere. Just a great album all round. Unfortunately, as is the case with many great bands, the original line up didn't hang around for too long, what with suicides and all that. However, Worship have returned stronger then ever, bringing together funeral doom and drone (funeral drone?) in what is a massive beast of an album.

For those who have heard other Worship albums, there's not much you wouldn't have already heard, but it's still really excellent. Basically Worship got their original formula and made it really, really slow- this is definitely the slowest funeral doom album I've ever heard, which is no mean feat. However, while making funeral doom even slower then usual may seem like a recipe for disaster, Worship still nail their sound and leave you begging for more.

Perhaps it's just the way that everything has been meticulously arranged, I dunno. It's a riveting listen nonetheless. 'Endzeit Elegies' is really, really slow, but the way the chords are arranged (never quite resolving, always maintaining tension) makes the song a really interesting and intensely dark beast. Imagine Thergothon being played at quarter speed and you're kinda there. 'Graveyard Horizon' has a slow and very graceful clean intro, with some terrific, solemn baritone vocals, and just when you're totally sedated by the epic, droning riffs that follow, a monk choir from hell comes in and takes the whole thing to a different place. There's no mid paced breaks here, unfortunately, but whether it's with a classy, despairing lead or a well placed clean part there's plenty of variation to keep you interested. Of course, the slow, crumbling riffs are also in a class of their own- not really funeral doom, as they're too slow and deconstructed for that, instead, sounding closer to some sort really depressing drone riffage, all recorded in a huge, lava flow guitar tone.

One thing that I've got to return to, though, is the slowness. It's so good. I think it was Muddy Waters (blues guy) who said something like "I'd like to play slow blues all the time, as the slower you get, the deeper the blues", or something along those lines anyway. Various people have echoed similar sentiments, and this album is a prime example. Everything is just so much more depressing, so much more bleak, so much more pure at these kind of tempos. A rough guess of the tempos would be somewhere around 35 bpm, which as any drone or funeral doom fan knows, can only be a very awesome thing. So slow. So pure. So hypnotic.

It's kind of hard to write about this album, admittedly. I really, really like it, and I'm not at my most eloquent when I really love an album. But, put simply, this is a devastating beast of an album. Definitely not recommended for beginners to the slo 'n' lo (get 'Last Tape Before Doomsday' for an intro to this band) but a must have for any big fans of funeral doom or drone. Excellent stuff.

(originially written for www.metal-observer.com)

Worship - Dooom - 100%

Phuling, April 19th, 2008

This is definitely the most sought after doom record ever, at least for me. I absolutely love the old material by Worship, and when I heard that a new album would emerge I was both skeptical and excited. Excited ‘cause they’re one of the greatest funeral doom metal bands I know, but skeptical since Max is no longer with us. As fans of the band undoubtedly know, Max (drums, vocals) committed suicide some years back, which meant the end of Worship. But relieved, I can say that the legacy and void left behind, has been skillfully handled by The Doommonger.

The agonized riffs build up such an amazingly stark and heavily depressed aura. And as the slow drums pound it’s difficult not to get into a rhythmic catatonic state. If you just let yourself fully submit to the atmosphere, the guitar leads will hit you with an overwhelming will to cry. It is utterly depressing music. The hoarse growls gives the impression of a truly hurting man, in lost of the will to live, but without the mental capacity to end it. And the somber choir that pops up in the background every now and then just enhances all these emotions. The thick and heavy sound really lets all the instruments, and every aspect of the music, take its full effect; the production is really marvelous. And to top it all off the digibook and booklet looks freakishly amazing. If you’ve heard any of their old material then you know what to expect, but if not I guess I can compare it a bit to acts such as Thergothon, Mournful Congregation and Stabat Mater. And that means slow, agonized and really heavy funeral doom metal.

Parts of Dooom was recorded back in 2000, but finished in 2007. And it’s a bit spooky to hear a voice from beyond, but to know that Max was still part of this recording gives the album a whole other dimension. In each and every aspect this album is a killer; a killer of joy and a breeder of negativity. And let me just state that the frantic background screaming that emerges halfway into I am the end – Crucifixion part II is absolutely terrifying, enough to make a grown man imagine he’s hearing voices.

Originally written for www.mylastchapter.net

Essential funeral doom - 92%

olo, December 6th, 2007

With an enviable underground cult following through their early years of existence, Germany's Worship catered to just its core audience. Take that with one full length released on hand-numbered tape in 1999 followed by a few splits with equally underground hand-numbered kvltness, 'twas really understandable to have this 2007 album as my first exposure to this band. From what I gather, their vocalist Max had jumped off a bridge and committed suicide. The band regrouped in 2004 in his honour and there's even a picture of the bridge in the album sleeve here. Dooom is the name of this album and this was all supposedly written back in 2000 with final touch ups before making it available to a relatively wide audience unlike before.

This is soo dooomy, they needed to put an extra 'o' in the album name just to set the expectations right. Sorry, I just had to take a dig on that but seriously, this is some of the really finest funeral doom we've got here. Nothing new and nothing too out of the box if you're already familiar with genre giants like Thergothon, Skepticism, Shape of Despair, Ahab, Esoteric and of course, Funeral. Just your regular evil brutal extra-slow desolate melancholic gloomy atmospheric did-i-say-slow melodic droning and chuggy drawn out epic doom metal. I suspect it has been a work-in-progress for years so there's a lot to listen to. And this does have a running time of almost 73 minutes so beware if you can't handle such bleakness. The band adds clean bottom-ended mournful vocals like in the verses and the mid-section of Gravey and Horizon and then go on to the brutal drone and sludge filled sections with guttural growls. Just to give you a rough idea of what you're in for.

The three prong attack towards the middle of the album with Gravey and Horizon, Zorn a Rust-Red Scythe and Devided are definite highlights of the album and between these, the band flawlessly shows off all the doom metal tricks in their bag. There's also a haunting take on Solitude Aeturnus' Mirror of Sorrow towards the end of the album; as if their own mindfuckery wasn't enough. Dooom is a must-have for fans of the genre and a good place to start if you're keen to be one.

Originally written for http://www.kvltsite.com