Eremit - Desert Of Ghouls review

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Band: Eremit
Album: Desert Of Ghouls
Release date: July 2020

01. Beheading The Innumerous
02. City Of Râsh-Il-Nûm

Much like Wolvennest, Eremit follow up a lengthy beast of a debut record with a compact EP the following year. Wolvennest pulled off this transition quite successfully; in my opinion, a tad more successfully than Eremit.

Carrier Of Weight (which picked up Metal Storm Awards nominations in last year's Best Extreme Doom and Best Debut categories), was 3 songs and over 1 hour of punishing sludge doom, relying heavily on repetition ("Dry Land" plays around with a single riff for pretty much the entirety of its 20 minutes of runtime) combined with a thick, grimy sludge tone, trudging pace and anguish shrieks; think the single-mindedness of Dopesmoker-era Sleep channelled through a putrid swamp. Given that "Dry Land" is longer than the entirely of Desert Of Ghouls, Eremit had to modify their approach somewhat, otherwise this would be a single-riff EP. Eremit have mixed up their sound here slightly; however, in doing so, they've lost a little bit of their charm along the way.

There are two songs on Desert Of Ghouls, "Beheading The Innumerous" and "City Of Râsh-Il-Nûm". Of these, "Beheading The Innumerous" feels closer to their previous record; it starts off with a single guitar playing a riff, which is slowly built up until the whole band joins on the same riff around the minute mark. However, compared to the crawl of parts of Carrier Of Weight, this is a more mid-tempo, driven track. This I think is perhaps where this song falls short compared with "Dry Land"; the latter track had the sheer crushing weight that comes with slower paces to infuse some appeal when the repetitiveness of the track might otherwise grate, and also played around with the tempo a bit more. In contrast, when "Beheading The Innumerous" reaches the halfway mark having driven its mid-tempo riff into the ground with persistent repetition, I find myself far less intrigued to see where they go next. I've noticed that Eremit have no bassist credited in their line-up; I wonder if a bit more in the low-end may have helped this song. Ultimately, they transition into a meatier riff for the closing minutes that has a lot more force and allure to it than what preceded it, meaning the song leaves a good closing impression.

"City Of Râsh-Il-Nûm" changes tack, kicking off with a calm, lengthy, somewhat psychedelic jam. The underlying muted riff and accompanying percussion are as incessantly repetitive as ever, but the different lead guitar approaches employed above this base add some nice flavour to the song. When "City" eventually kicks into a thicker sound, it's again at a faster tempo than listeners familiar with Carrier Of Weight might be accustomed to; this song in particular ventures into stoner rock territory as it progresses and continues to pick up the pace.

"City Of Râsh-Il-Nûm" in general is more consistently engaging than "Beheading The Innumerous", never running any section into the ground despite its increased runtime and reaching a satisfying conclusion as it drops the pace and pummels the listener with one last riff assault. However, there's still something missing for me. As mentioned in the introduction, Wolvennest pulled off the jump from Void to Vortex by taking some key elements from the former and adding in touches more fitting for the shorter format. Eremit have done much the same here, but without quite the same success. It may be that having 20-30 minutes to pummel a listener into submission was integral to drawing the best out of Eremit's sound, and that losing this dimension was hard to overcome; by picking up the tempos and shifting from murky doom to a more sludge/stoner sound, the battlefield for Eremit has shifted, and compared to bands with a style closer to their new approach, they aren't able to stand out to the same degree.

Cutting the runtimes and picking up the tempo whilst still seeking to extract the most out of repetitive sludge riffs, Eremit have mostly retained their appeal from Carrier Of Weight on Desert Of Ghouls, but have lost a bit of their charm during the transition.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 8


Written on 30.06.2020 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 1   Visited by: 9 users
16.07.2020 - 00:28
This was indeed underwhelming compared to their album last year which I really enjoyed. "City Of Râsh-Il-Nûm" is definitely the better of the two tracks but still inferior to anything from Carrier Of Weight.

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