Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

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.